The Crisis of Credit: Visualized. Kid Vid Teaching Tool by MFA Student

crisis-of-creditFeb. 19, 2009 For every speechless educator groping for words when hands are raised with the million dollar questions…”how did we get here” and “what can we do about it?” this little 3:44 video clip gives a quick visual insight into the trickle down impact of ‘banks behaving badly.’

Created by Jonathan Jarvis for his graduate thesis at the Media Design Program, it’s a must see, even for teens who haven’t made it OUT of school yet, and whose eyes glaze over at words like ‘subprime mortgage.’ (full video after the jump, and his website is here)

Financial literacy for kids is a huge issue for us all, because let’s face it, many adults are abysmal role models in the fiscal fitness category. All kids know is the days of ‘the future’s so bright I have to wear shades’ are eclipsed by the heavy burdens of family members around them in a tanked economy…

Poof! In a puff of graphic smoke, kids ‘get it’ like an economics 101 primer.  Jonathan conveys the issue using terms like ‘hot potato’ and compelling visuals (like a lit-fused bomb!) as this media chalkboard comes alive with erudite simplicity and graphic punch in the spirit of the easy explanation folks at the CommonCraft Show. Check it out…


Jonathan himself says, The goal of giving form to a complex situation like the credit crisis is to quickly supply the essence of the situation to those unfamiliar and uninitiated…”

Mind you, seeding this in viral video form and showcasing his other work is nothing short of brilliant in a job market downturn…so kudos for that mindset too. For more on his broader thesis work exploring the use of new media to make sense of a increasingly complex world, visit

I’ll add some of my other articles and links on Shaping Youth to instill financial literacy in kids, but meanwhile, enjoy Jonathan’s visual artistry in part one (short, about 7 minutes) and part two (short short, about half that, below!)

Then head over to Asset Based Thinking to get a dose of positivity and perspective to keep the stress and mayhem in check. Whether you’re an adult, or a teen, the key thing in my mind is to understand the situation, but stay solutions-based and action-driven rather than spiral down the path of hopelessness. Keeps us all in ‘what are we gonna do about it’ productive mode, ya know?

The Crisis of Credit 3:44 by Jonathan Jarvis, created for his MFA thesis at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (Media Design Program)

Related Resources on Shaping Youth

S.Y. Part Two: Money Mgmt, Allowances, Digital Nagging

Shaping Youth Interviews PAYjr CEO David Jones, Part ONE: Visa Buxx

Shaping Youth: A Humorous Approach to Student Debt: Credit Cartoons

Shaping Youth: Kids Take Lessons From Financial Debt Binge

Shaping Youth: Virtual Chore Chart Boosts Kids Financially Savvy

Shaping Youth: A Vision of Students Today– Digital Ethnography

Shaping Youth: Web 2.0 Fun Forward, The Machine Is Us/ing Us!

Interactive Games/Virtual Worlds/Financial Activities for Kids

Budget Hero: American Public Media (story to come tmrw on S.Y.)

Default Student Debt Documentary (interview in March)

Minyanland: Bulls/Bears and virtual critters teach money tips (w/NCEE)

iThryv: Newly launched online banking site: Ages 5-24

My Reward Board ages 5-12; interactive customizable chore & finance tracking tool National Financial Coalition; Reality Check for Kids

Global Stock Market: Free, realistic game simulation

Moneyopolis: Online game; probono effort by Ernst & Young for middle schoolers National Consumers League/high schoolers

Independent Means website & products by Joline Godfrey, including Raising Financially Fit Kids, No More Frogs to Kiss: 9 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls etc.

Financial Smarts for Students: The JumpStart Coalition

New Moon Money: Book written by girls for girls, from New Moon Publishing

Save for America: School savings curriculum w/online integration

Moon Jar: Award-winning financial literacy toolkit, book, products

Hot Company: “The money game with attitude”

Prosperity4Kids: Financial training products, programs & tools with resource links

Kids.Gov: Official Kids Portal for the U.S. Government on all things ‘money’

Sense & Dollars Online game; middle/high schoolers

Wall Street Urban youth programs, from summer camps to school year financial literacy

Kiplinger’s Money Smart Kids (article compilation)

Financial Literacy for Kids: Money Lessons Should Start Young (Parenthood)

Girls Inc: Economic Literacy (for adults too!)

Creative Wealth International (formerly The Money Camp)



  1. Nice post. Instilling financial literacy in kids is something we all should be cognizant of…as parents, grandparents, teachers…all of us. It’s the first step to financial responsibility in their adulthood. A good cause to get behind. And, thanks for the recommend on Asset-Based Thinking.

    Stay calm everyone.

    Hank Wasiak

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