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Your teens are better than you. Here’s why.

Kids today are less prone to risk-taking. They’re more empathetic, less racist, and more likely to buy ethically. They’re smarter, thinking about the environment more, and they’re not taking prisoners when it comes to hate speech. So what does that have to do with us? In honour of Giving Tuesday, we’ve done a bit of digging on the million-dollar digital question…

The iGeneration. Screenagers. Instabrats. Is there any hope for today’s youth?

According to the stats, yes.

Our recent partnership with the NSPCC has prompted us to look deeper into the relationship between today’s kids and the behaviour of previous generations. And the results are in: research shows that modern children are outperforming previous eras in leaps and bounds when it comes to innovation, the environment and empathy. Good news if you’re the parent of a teenager: today’s adolescents are also engaging less in risky behaviour. They’re worldlier, more likely to buy products for the social good, and now, they’re far more charitable too.

Don’t believe it?

A 2016 study by the National Institute of Health found drinking, smoking and illicit drug use on a significant decline among teens, reaching their lowest levels since 1975. Youth psychologist Jean Twenge describes our kids as being “less rebellious; more tolerant” and says they are more open-minded and inclusive than any other generation. And the UK Business Insider recently reported that the tech gen is more innovative, favouring entrepreneurship and careers that focus on social change. It’s official: the kids are all right.

The question remains: why?

One theory says that children growing up in the online age are more switched on to how others live, and more importantly, feel. It makes sense: there’s now a much wider window for young people to peer through and experience other cultures and ways of life. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but social media also means our kids are seeing grim global issues like climate change, deforestation, homelessness and poverty unfolding around the world, in real-time.

Unsurprisingly, this visibility is having a big –and positive– impact on the empathy and benevolence of our iGens. Good news for parents, but even better news for nonprofits. Today, the Charity Commission reports that millennials and GenZ are giving more generously and more thoughtfully than any other generation in history.

What’s more, the internet has been a petri dish for the trend of online donation to thrive in. Where parents would cash-carry and drop coins in collection tins, their kids will now be able to donate online: instantly, easily, and with a world of information underneath their keyboard.

And it shows. Just last year online giving increased by over 12% from 2016. A recent article from Wired further reported that giving via apps, social media and websites accounted for over a quarter (26%) of donations in the UK. And when asked about online donation, Hugh Davies, the director of corporate affairs at Three Mobile said: “The internet and smartphones have changed the way we live, work and interact. They break down barriers and make life easier”.

As one of the world’s largest sources of data on kids and spending, we at gohenry have also been able to spot a clear relationship between young people and donation: over the past two years, kids within our community spent close to £20,000 on charitable transactions: no small feat for children who earn an average of £5.60 in pocket money per week.

With this all in mind, the takeup from banks and financial institutions has been surprisingly slow. “Payroll Giving” allows parents (a.k.a, adults) to auto-donate a portion of their paycheck to charity, and larger banks sometimes offer nonprofit partnership schemes. However, when it comes to young people, the same opportunities are non-existent.

With that knowledge, we at gohenry have created a feature that aims to fill this gap in financial literacy and give kids a secure platform to donate online. Enter Giving: our in-app tool that introduces kids to the idea of charitable donation. Young people can now learn about the value of helping others, and if they wish, they have the option to securely donate a small portion of their pocket money to the NSPCC within the app (or on the website).

When developing the feature, we wanted to make it very clear that it’s as much about education as it is about fundraising: with the common good already such a defining part of British culture –and the season of goodwill just around the corner– there’s no better time to teach our kids how to manage money, how to navigate safely through the digital universe, and about the gift of Giving.

After all, it won’t be long until they’re teaching us.

gohenry exists with the core belief that children should be prepared in every way for financial adulthood. We aim to give young people a safe space to save, spend and budget money, and now, give to charity. If you like, you can read more about what the NSPCC do and our partnership with them here.

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