The free, downloadable Gaming or Gambling pack is full of helpful information and simple, practical ways to keep gaming fun and safe.
What has gaming got to do with gambling?
Gaming is a big part of many children’s and young people’s lives. Parent Zone’s research found that 93% of 10-to-16-year-olds in the UK play online games.
As your students head off for the Christmas holidays, the chances are they’ll be spending a fair bit of time gaming. Some may be lucky enough to find consoles in their stockings.
Games are no longer sold on disk: they’re downloaded from the cloud and can be updated at any time. Games designers, publishers and distributors have in many cases come to depend on features like loot boxes to make money.
Loot boxes are virtual treasure chests gamers can purchase. They’re a kind of lottery: players rarely know what will be inside. There is concern that ‘nudge’ techniques familiar from gambling are being used to keep children opening loot boxes, leading to habitual, gambling-like behaviour.
Many online games include ‘skins’ – costumes and camouflages that players can use to customise characters and weapons. Very often these make up the treasure in the loot boxes.
Since some skins are more common than others, gamers collect them. Their scarcity value means it’s possible to use them as ‘chips’ to gamble on casino-style, third-party websites, cashing out any virtual winnings for real money.
This kind of gambling is illegal for anyone under 18. The sites – which rarely attempt age verification – appear and disappear before the authorities can catch up with them. This is known as skin gambling – and many people, including parents, don’t know it exists.
What does the pack include?
Parent Zone and GambleAware have developed the Gaming or Gambling pack to help children enjoy gaming safely with help from the adults in their lives.
The pack includes a range of resources including two films, FAQs, top tips, a glossary, a quiz and a lesson plan for eight-to-11-year-olds.
The materials are designed to help children, teachers and parents learn about gambling, to spot the signs that it might be becoming a problem, and to manage the risks.
As well as downloading their own packs, schools can engage families by signposting the resources specifically aimed at parents.
Parent Zone’s CEO Vicki Shotbolt says:
“At Parent Zone we’ve found the best experts – often young gamers – to explain this topic and translate it into information that’s accessible and really easy to understand.”
Supporting online resilience
Parent Zone offers a range of tools to help parents, teachers and others support children to be resilient online and to maximise their wellbeing.
Google UK and Parent Zone’s new Digital Wellbeing module – part of the Be Internet Legends curriculum – encourages children to think about how technology can make them feel so that they can go on to reflect on how to use technology in a balanced way.
Find out more
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