Parenting in the digital age is a real challenge as kids are often more in tune with the technology than adults. Parents are often amazed at the understanding and insight their growing children have about video gaming. This gets even more confounding when the parents themselves lack this knowledge and are unable to judge whether the kids are on the wrong track. The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is an institution that aims to provide parents with the information they need. It has just added a Parent Hub portal to its website that provides in-depth information about safe online gaming.
YGAM Announces Parent Hub
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YGAM has been serving society since 2014 by educating and protecting young and vulnerable gamers. It has recently added another facility to its resource set – a new Parent Hub website. Making the announcement, Kev Clelland, director of operations at YGAM stressed that the Parent Hub was one more step in safeguarding children and young people growing up in the era of online gaming. The objectives of this hub were:
● Demystifying the world of video games for parents
● Highlighting the positive experiences gaming can provide
● Making parents aware of the potentially harmful aspects of gaming
Clelland added, “The parent hub will empower parents with the knowledge and understanding to help their children access the world of gaming in a safe and secure manner.”
Head of delivery for YGAM’s parent programme Amanda Atkinson explained that it has been a fantastic experience to launch the newly designed parent hub. She said that the process involved collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders that included parents, gamers, academics and educators. Their objective was to make the Parent Hub sufficiently informative, without being overwhelming and inaccessible.
This endeavour has been completely successful and in the next section we will examine a few elements of the hub to demonstrate how.
Features of the Parent Hub
The Parent Hub website features a range of custom-designed tools and resources across all platforms which aim to give parents an example of the different mechanics and play styles available to children and young people. There are separate sections for Gaming and Gambling and we discuss a few from each activity.
Why Children Game
This is a question that befuddles many parents, especially if they have grown up before the proliferation of video games. Before any course correction can be undertaken parents must know the answers.
● Escapism: The response from a 12-year-old, “When I play I can be someone else” says it all.
● Sense of achievement: To make it to the top of the leaderboard is a great feeling, especially if you are not good in academics or sports.
● No consequences of failure: If you die you just press Restart and try again. No one will know that you have failed.
Safety Controls Checklist for Gaming
If your child is a frequent gamer then you have to insist on a certain amount of access and control. The Parent Hub provides a detailed checklist from which we have picked a few.
● Have access to your child’s passwords
● Do not permit inappropriate usernames
● Make sure that the personal information about your child is kept private
● Use time limit settings to control screen time
The Parent Hub actually has demos on how to use settings for popular platforms.
Why Children Gamble
Underage gambling is illegal across the world, yet credible surveys have found that there are children that have gambled online. Some of the reasons given connect to the life-style of the parents.
● To win money: the children may perceive that they are not given due pocket money
● Because the parents do: it is instinctive to copy one’s elders
● Because it is cool: maybe the adults speak of gambling in a positive manner
YGAM says that “it is important to take a whole-family approach to create an environment where children feel able to speak openly with their parents about gambling”.
Spotting Signs of Potential Harm in Gambling
If your child is gambling, then he or she is not likely to give you that information. You will need to look out for tell-tale signs. Parent Hub divides these signs into three areas.
● Money related: These include missing cash or household articles, frequently asking for money and more.
● Behaviour related: Withdrawal or depression symptoms, poor performance at school and more.
● Time related: Sleeping late, unexplained absences from home and more.
Safe online gambling is something adult gamblers need to pursue as well, after all they need to be a role-model to the children.
Other Initiatives by YGAM
The Parent Hub is a major push by YGAM, but there are other achievements that it can be proud of.
YGAM conducts regular workshops for people, apart from parents, who can and want to contribute in this area. The participants include teachers, youth workers and other professionals assisting children. There are two or three sessions every week and you can book a slot from their website.
A review of the UK Gambling Act of 2005 is under progress to make the legislation in tune with the latest developments and YGAM has contributed its inputs. One of its focuses has been on the strengthening of education for the prevention of gambling harm. YGAM has specifically asked for increased long-term funding towards creation of effective education programs.
Gaming Is an Adult Activity as Well
Who said playing video games is only for children? Adults too can derive benefits from gaming if carried out in moderation. It is a relaxing pastime and if you acquire some expertise then you can participate in tournaments, stream your gaming or become a games tester. Keep in mind that safe gaming applies to adults as well.