Gambling is often associated with adult behaviour. However, with the accessibility of Internet gambling in recent years, the gambling environment has changed to become more appealing to youths today. Instead of traditional forms of gambling in casinos or jackpot rooms, youths can easily gamble using Internet-connected devices by playing online gambling games or betting on eSports leagues. Such accessibility has fueled a rise in gambling opportunities among youths.
Children are exposed to gambling from a young age. There are now casino-themed games that can be easily found on popular social media platforms accessed by the young. Such seemingly innocuous online games prime youngsters for gambling activities. Hence, the importance of educational efforts to prevent youths from developing gambling problems.
To safeguard your child’s cyber wellness, keep these 10 tips in mind:
1. Place Computers and Gaming Consoles in Common Areas
Place computers and gaming consoles in common areas such as the living room so that you can monitor your child’s usage.
2. Limit Your Child’s Screen Time
Set an agreement with your child on the duration allowed on gaming consoles, computers or the television. For example, you can plan a weekly timetable for your child, with an allocated duration to be spent on homework, television programmes or games.
3. Check the Rating of the Games Your Child Plays
Some games may contain gambling simulation and are given ratings to make sure that they are age-appropriate. It helps to familiarise yourself with the games your child plays and keep a look-out for potential areas of concern.
4. Protect Your Child’s Personal Information and Identity
Make sure that your child does not share his or her personal information such as name, age, address or mobile number online. Help them understand the dangers of sharing personal information over multi-player platforms.
5. Explain the Dangers of Visiting Unfamiliar Websites
Multi-player games allow for online chats and players may share websites with tips on how to improve gameplay or make easy money online. Help your child understand the importance of online privacy, especially a betting website claiming guaranteed winnings.
6. Set Up Parental Controls
Parental controls can filter the web, preventing your child from accessing inappropriate websites such as adult-related sites, online gambling, social networking sites and other unsafe content.
7. Restrict Online Transactions
Some games offer bonuses or in-game credits for a fee. Set a password to limit access to app store purchases or creating an account to place bets.
8. Lead by Example
Empower your child to handle problems that he or she may face from online gambling sites. Demonstrate healthy online habits and talk to your child about gambling addiction and its possible negative impacts.
9. Introduce Healthy Activities for the Whole Family
Recreational activities such as playing sports outdoors will encourage family interaction and less time spent on online gaming.
10. Seek Help from Professionals
If your child faces difficulty in managing the amount of time spent on online gaming, seek help from professionals. Counselling and cyber wellness programmes are available at organisations such as TOUCH Cyber Wellness and Fei Yue Community Services.
For additional resources on managing your child’s online gaming activities, learn more from these sites:
1. Media Literacy Council
The Media Literacy Council of Singapore aims to create a society where Singaporeans are able to discern and evaluate media content effectively, along with responsible usage, sharing and creation of content. The Council also addresses risky and uncivil behaviours online and educate Singaporeans to be astute and responsible digital citizens.
2. TOUCH Cyber Wellness
TOUCH Cyber Wellness, is a service of TOUCH YOUTH, a division of TOUCH Community Services. TOUCH Cyber Wellness’ aim is to advocate for cyber wellness and new media literacy for children, teenagers, parents and educators.
3. Fei Yue Community Services
Fei Yue Community Services provides a range of services, including counselling, information and referral assistance, community support programmes and outreach, child protection services, student care services and eldercare services.
Information is taken from “10 Tips for Parents on Cyber Wellness” by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).
About National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)
Established in August 2005, the National Council on Problem Gambling provides advice and feedback to the Ministry of Social and Family Development on social concerns related to problems arising from gambling. For more information, visit www.ncpg.org.sg.