Gibraltar-based Lottoland has launched an educational ‘youth gaming’ awareness programme in conjunction with the Department for Education, in a bid to help mitigate the risks posed by online gaming trends among young people today.
According to Lottoland, its P.A.R.E.N.T initiative will support parents, educators and youth representatives across the board to educate, inspire and empower young people to not only stay safe online but also strike a balance between ‘online’ and ‘offline’.
Designed to help all those involved in youth gaming ‘stay on their game’ with regards to online risks, the scheme is being rolled out in conjunction with the Department for Education following initial consultation with teachers, NGOs and other stakeholders based locally.
Nigel Birrell, CEO at Lottoland, said: “Focus group discussions held at the University in Gibraltar helped us create a forum of people crucial in bringing this scheme to life, and the response we have had has been incredibly positive.”
“Together, we will provide young people today with the resources they need to ensure they are empowered to ‘switch off’ when they need to, and ‘switched on’ enough to enjoy all that online gaming has to offer with the self-awareness required to stay safe and sound at all times.”
Focusing on six key behaviours essential for responsible gaming, discussions held ahead of the campaign’s launch during Responsible Gaming Week (November 1 – 7) have led to plans for teachers to work with parents and help them get their children to ‘Switch off to Switch on’.
These six key areas are: Parent, Awareness, Responsibility, Environment, Nurture and Trust.
As such, PARENT scheme training sessions, delivered by Young Gamblers Education Trust, for primary and secondary teachers will begin in early 2019, subject to further conversation with Government education officials.
Evidence from programmes rolled out in Gibraltar will then also be used to launch PARENT in other countries through the European Lotto Betting Association, of which Lottoland is a founding member.
The campaign otherwise comes after Lottoland researchers also found that almost half of UK children enjoy unlimited time online each day – and 1 in 5 have access to online games without any restrictions in place at all.
Additionally the study, which was conducted by OnePoll, found that children’s online gaming habits cost the average UK parent £31 in charges – a third of whom are unaware of the costs due to them until it is time to pay.
Lee Willows, Chief Executive, Young Gamblers Education Trust – YGAM, said: ‘It is a pleasure to be working alongside Lottoland to deliver this important new campaign.”
“The insight from OnePoll paints a similar picture to what parents tell us in England and in response, YGAM has now developed a suite of resources aimed specifically at teachers and parents.”
“In line with the message from the UK Gambling Commission, we believe empowering both with timely and relevant material so they can have conversations with their children around gaming is important.”
“This launch is timely during Responsible Gambling Week and we are looking forward to working with Lottoland and the Department for Education to create awareness year round and take this important campaign to other jurisdictions.”
Although not directly involved in the delivery of social gaming, Lottoland said its commitment to the promotion of responsible behaviour online is one the company takes extremely seriously.
It added that as a leading online betting site, the introduction of the PARENT scheme is just one of many ways in which the company seeks to provide ongoing support to the community around it.
Mr Birrell added: “Industry operators often focus inside our businesses when it comes to helping and supporting our customers, and rightly so – we have to tick all the right boxes and above all be responsible operators.”
“Research shows that issues can start from a much younger age than amongst those players simply aged 18 or older, however, and Lottoland felt strongly that we could and should be doing more in the countries we operate in.”
“PARENT is a pioneering venture which will equip parents, teachers and others involved in the care and education of young people today with the awareness, control and responsibility they need to successfully navigate today’s online gaming environment, both in Gibraltar and hopefully worldwide too,” he said.
The European Lottery Betting Association is supporting the PARENTinitiative.
ELBA’s chairperson and Head of Corporate Affairs at myLotto24, Lena Patel, said: “Lottoland’s P.A.R.E.N.T initiative is a testament to the lotto betting industry’s concern over the effects of ‘’digital overload’’ for young people.”
“The initiative represents and confirms ELBA’s core values aimed at preventing harm and contributing to social responsibility. ELBA will carry forward the work started by this initiative and appreciates fellow member Lottoland launching this important initiative.”