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Bye-Bye Piggy Bank? More Parents Paying Kids in Digital Currency

The Short of It

Instead of handing over cold, hard cash for their allowances, more and more parents are giving their kids digital currency to pay for apps or online purchases.

The Lowdown

According to a survey of 2,000 U.K. parents commissioned by financial technology firm Intelligent Environments, more than 1/4 of parents pay their children in digital currency to make purchases in games like Minecraft or Moshi Monsters or for online services like iTunes. Another 1/3 of parents transfer a weekly allowance into their children's digital bank accounts, and nearly four in 10 parents don't give their kids any pocket money, instead putting the cash into savings accounts in their children's names.

"Nothing has changed more than the way in which we manage our money," David Webber, managing director at Intelligent Environments, told The Telegraph. "Our research shows that in a world of apps, e-books, digital music, and online games, more children than ever are asking for their weekly allowance digitally to fuel modern-day spending, such as in-app purchases, in-game currency and digital music downloads."

The Upshot

While using our debit cards or buying items online with digital funds is convenient, it might make it hard for kids to understand the value of money. I think having physical currency in the form of pocket money is a useful tool to help kids learn how to manage money, work with budgets, and make change. While it may be tempting to give our kids their allowance or pay them for chores in digital currency, we shouldn't forget to give them some actual dollars and cents, too, so their spending experiences feel more real.

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