It’s not just the social networks that are attracting more and more young people. Gaming is also becoming increasingly popular. There are the unproblematic games that promise a certain learning success and promote social skills. At the same time, young people are increasingly consuming games that are classified as problematic, including games of chance in online casinos. These dubious trends should be counteracted by protective measures.
When does a game and playing in online casinos become problematic?
In the case of children and young people between the ages of 12 and 17 in particular, those games that involve a financial outlay pose a certain risk. Here, the provider of the game deliberately integrates cost traps into a game process in order to make it attractive in some way and thus encourage the children to buy. There is also a psychological component that comes into play here. The use of those online casinos that offer their services on the market with little security form a dubious direction. An EU approval creates a secure framework for online casinos. So you should make sure that the online casinos are at least equipped with an US license .
Doubtful Trends: Gambling Elements and Financial Aspects
Young people are one of the most important target groups in the computer games industry. Due to their level of development, they are easily seduced and influenced. Monetary aspects such as buying additional game extensions or time-limited items bind the children strongly to the course of the game.
Loot boxes, in-game currencies and 1-click purchases also encourage young players to make financial investments in their leisure time.
In relation to the embellishments of the plot or the game protagonists, the young people also spend more money.
Children and young people as consumers of online casino games?
The path from costly video games often leads to online casinos. The anonymity of the internet tempts to disguise a minor and to consume what online casinos have to offer.
The State Treaty on Gambling regulates the organizational framework of online casinos. Officially, only adults are allowed to gamble. It is the responsibility of the owners of the platforms to exclude children and young people under the age of 18 from use by means of suitable and reliable identification and authentication measures. Since young people can be inventive and sometimes use their parents’ ID documents, complete protection is not always guaranteed, even with the best technical personalization mechanisms.
Here it is advisable to look for an operator with a European license, as this offers protective framework conditions to prevent misuse and to ensure security.
In addition, the parents and legal guardians of a child have a responsibility to protect against illegal gambling for real money.
Unauthorized advertising on social networks
The trend in advertising for children’s games of chance should be viewed extremely critically. This is not allowed, but can be found in disguised form on platforms such as Twitch or in social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This advertising is not always declared as such. On the Twitch platform, for example, streamers can be watched playing live. Followers of the streamers see how sums of money are won and this in a supposedly simple and uncomplicated way. Possible financial losses are not mentioned here.
last minute panic
This implicates messages in the viewer’s brain. These can suggest that gambling is basically safe and a good way to earn some pocket money without much effort.
The advertising deals behind these campaigns and with which you-tubers earn money are difficult for young viewers to recognize.
The Twitch platform is trying to stop this trend with measures such as time streaming limitations and broadcasting times only after midnight in order to better protect young people.
In the meantime, advertising in social networks must also be marked as such, but young people often have difficulty assessing this due to their inexperience.
The risk of gambling addiction tends to be higher in children compared to adults because, unlike adults, they have more difficulty assessing the consequences of their actions and finding an end to an ongoing game. Adolescents are more willing to take risks and less cautious and far-sighted. The pursuit of social recognition and fame also encourages young people to follow such You-Tuber campaigns, because You-Tubers are their respected idols and, in their perception, authentic stars. They look up to them, and they often act as role models and orientation for their own behavior.
Due to the gaming component, online casino games cannot be completely banned on the social network platforms. In any case, the enlightening and careful discussion from the personal environment of the young person about possible risks is needed.
What are the warning signs of an incipient addiction?
● Changed contact
The young person increasingly seeks to be alone and avoids encounters with others. He withdraws more and more and is almost exclusively focused on playing.
● No other leisure activities
In addition to playing, the affected person hardly notices any other actions. The time of using the games is constantly expanding and overshadows all other possibilities of spending free time.
● A new daily structure
The previous day-night rhythm is often reversed vehemently. The children sleep a lot less and focus all of their time on playing.
● Impaired impulse control
Not having or not having access to play puts children in emotional distress. They react with unusual intensity with anger and aggression. Depressive states can also set in and block the other traits of the child.
● Sloppy negligence
Previously fixed tasks and obligations are hardly noticed or forgotten, since gaming absorbs the thinking very much. Concentration on everyday factors such as homework decreases significantly.
● Lack of self-reflection
Young people can no longer independently discuss their own usage behavior. A neutral and realistic assessment of the prevailing situation will no longer be possible.
Helpful tips for parents:
→ Make gambling a topic
In addition to keeping a watchful eye on your child’s internet use, it would be wise to openly communicate the issue of gambling and the dangers it can pose. Also make it clear that these may only be used legally from the age of majority.
→ Enlightenment from the outside is complementary, not substitute
Campaigns by schools or clubs in relation to gambling addiction are not sufficient as a sole educational and protective measure. In any case, your child needs to reflect on the conversation with you in order to process what he has heard and seen.
→ Keep important documents safe
According to Section 281 of the Criminal Code, if someone uses your identity card or other ID card, this constitutes an offense. In the worst case, this can result in a prison sentence or a fine, so great caution is required here.
→ Have an overview of your account
Pay close attention to any noticeable account activity such as deposits and withdrawals from an online casino. Unexpected deviations in the account balance should also be a reason to take a close look.
→ Use offers of help
Don’t be afraid to seek outside help if your child becomes addicted to gambling or excessive gaming behavior. Be the person you can talk to and trust, listen carefully and don’t make any reproaches or accusations against your child. Take the resulting steps together and get professional support if necessary.
Mindfulness instead of scaremongering
Not all gaming behavior is pathological, so to speak, and not every young person tends to be endangered. The social and cultural background and the primary contact persons play an important role here.
Symptoms of puberty or pre-puberty can also affect the assessment of a possible risk. Sometimes psychological behavioral disorders are already present, from which an emerging gambling addiction is generated.
An open discussion and a vigilant, individual view are generally more advisable than an immediate general ban on playing, which almost always leads to rash actions on the part of the young person.