Today a group of investors including three tech space leaders, namely Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Eric Schmidt of Google and Evan Williams of Twitter, put $10 million in EverFi, a Washington based startup that creates online tutorials for college students. The topics currently covered are financial literacy, digital literacy and alcohol consumption. This round brings the total funding of EverFi to $21 million.
According to an article in the Washington Post, EverFi is currently reaching 4 million students across the States. The business model is based on grants from corporations, foundations and individuals for the high school student programs and direct sales to universities for the college programs.
Now, I don’t want to sound like an old fart but are we really that bad in raising our kids that we need startups to fill in the gap and teach them some of the most essential life skills? Will the next big thing be an iPad potty training app for toddlers?
On the other hand, this is also related to helicopter parenting and big data in education. Knowing that your child is a potential high risk drinker is of course a good thing but then I am not sure what consequences will follow. Who gets all this data and what conclusions will be drawn? Will we see some data points in the presidential campaign in 2048 that one contender used to be a high risk drinker in college where the other did not know much about financial literacy?
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong that a startup like EverFi offers tutorials for life skills as there is apparently a growing group of teenagers who really need these tutorials. But to me, it also shows that there is something profoundly wrong in today’s society. And why is there no option for parents who want to buy the tutorial for their children and then go through it together at home? I suppose there is no interest.
We seem to be willing to outsource everything including parenting for more convenience though I am not sure what the freed-up time is used for. Sure, those topics EverFi is tackling are not the most fun ones to talk about with your teenage kid but those dialogs are nevertheless an important part of the upbringing, I feel.
For example, letting a commercial bank teach my children financial literacy is also a bit trusting the cat to keep the cream. Sure, banks are also interested in literate customers but in the end they want to have you as a customer and sell their credits to you.
If we avoid conflict in our families because there are services out there that will do this for us, family life might start to look totally different in the future. Sure, we all want to live a happy and peaceful life at home but conflict and for that matter solving conflicts is also an essential life skill that I think cannot be taught in an online tutorial.
As EverFi is planning to invest parts of the new funding in new courses, I suppose there will be tutorials on health and sex education.
Nevertheless, EverFi is doing an important job and I applaud them for that. I just wished that we wouldn’t need tutorials on life skills parents should teach their kids at home.
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