Hot on the Web this month is MainXchange (www.mainXchange.com), a new interactive site that gives teens a taste of the dog-eat-dog world of Wall Street. Designed to teach adolescents the art of playing the stock market, each teen player is equipped with 100,000 virtual dollars to invest, as well as an on-screen personal consultant. These digital tipsters stay with the budding young traders for the duration of the game, providing advice and hints on how to invest wisely.
The idea for the site was sparked when Englewood, New Jersey-based MainXchange’s CEO Yadin Kaufmann recognized that the purchasing power of the teen set would attract youth-dependent sponsor corporations willing to pay for feature space on-line. ‘Teens are the fastest growing sector in the U.S. right now,’ he says. ‘They wield a lot of economic clout-these kids are spending tens of billions of dollars a year themselves, as well as influencing the spending of their parents.’ Cool companies such as Hasbro, Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger, Planet Hollywood and Guitar Center have already signed on with MainXchange, offering their products as prizes for teen investors whose portfolios generate the best monthly return.
The site has also attracted the attention of educators looking for fun ways to help kids learn about economics and finance. According to Kaufmann, there aren’t any teaching curriculums for kids today that adequately address investing. ‘Teens hear about the stock market, they see their parents trading, they hear people talk about their portfolios, but until now, no one has made this world understandable or accessible for them.’
The game implements all the characteristics of the actual stock market; players can choose to sink their dough into almost any publicly traded company listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ markets. The Web site also includes resources found on real fee-based on-line brokerage sites, including stock quotes, charts, news headlines and portfolio management templates. MainXchange can be downloaded for free from the site or sent by mail in CD-ROM format. For information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.