Monday, September 24, 2007

Is this really what we want to teach children?

I saw a commercial recently for the new version of Monopoly. Now, there is no more paper money. Everything is done with a debit card. Land on a property? Swipe! You own it. Have to buy a hotel? Swipe! Build it right up. Boardwalk? Swipe! $400 to your opponent.

Or actually, it's not $400 anymore. It's $20 million. I know that when Monopoly originally came out, the amounts were a little pie-in-the-sky. But $20 million? That's more than most people will earn in their lifetime.

The biggest problem I have with this new version is that it takes away any lessons the old Monopoly had and replaces them.

  • Old lesson: basic math. Count out the money, pay what is owed.
  • New lesson: use a calculator. The magic machines will do all the math for you.
  • Old lesson: budgeting. You have to pick whether you put a house on Vendor Ave or Atlantic Ave. You can't do both.
  • New lesson: spending money is easy and fast. One swipe and you're done.
  • Old lesson: debt = pain. It hurts to mortgage your properties to pay the income tax.
  • New lesson: I don't have enough money? Oh, I know! I'll just take out a mortgage on Reading Railroad.
  • Old lesson: you get what you see. Everyone's money is out on the table.
  • New lesson: appearances can be deceiving. The player with the most properties and hotels can have $10 in their bank account.
The last lesson is the only pro I see about this game, and it's a little bit of a stretch for the 8+ age group. I understand that the Parker Brothers are trying to keep up with the times and update their old classic. But whatever happened to Red Sox Monopoly? I feel like this is a step in the wrong direction. Instead of taking the opportunity to teach children about finance in a game format, it goes completely in the other direction. In eight-year-old eyes, what's the difference between a debit card and a credit card? I shudder at the thought of kids learning early that, in their own words, [a]ll it takes is a card swipe for money to change hands.


Puddin1981 said...

AMEN! This is absolutely the most upsetting thing to hit the shelves since Shop 'Til You Drop! I suppose I'll have to save the classic version and blow off the dust when the time comes for my children to play Monopoly.

Naomi said...

I thought the same thing when I saw this commercial. I am trying to teach my kids the value of money and a plastic card does not do that!

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