Over the last few years, a new type of gaming platform, Twitch, has exploded in popularity. But with increased exposure comes increased risk.
Twitch, one of many popular live streaming services, focuses on video game live streaming. It also includes live broadcasts of people engaging in gambling activities. There are no age limitations to the streaming service, opening a world of risky possibilities to underage children.
For years, there have been streamers who play online casino games. The rise in popularity is due in part to TikTok stars advertising the platform and other online casino games. Some streaming stars are even doing paid sponsorships for casinos in their videos.
A concern is if children watch these gambling interactions on a consistent basis, it could lead to an increased desire among children to gamble. And if they only see stars online winning money from gambling, it could drive the false belief that betting more money increases their chances of winning big.
Despite the risks the Twitch platform can promote, there are ways you can protect your child from online gaming and gambling sites.
Use parental control software: There are plenty of software services out there that provide the necessary protection from unwanted sites and sources. The software can monitor gamers’ usage, track digital habits, and limit screen time. Popular software options include Net Nanny, KidLogger, and My Mobile Watchdog. Most home internet providers also give users the capability to set parental controls.
Set limits around gaming: Setting limits can look different for every child and family, but can include placing restrictions on their devices, setting a time limit, or signing your child up for an after-school activity. Allowing your child to be an active participant in setting the limits encourages them to take ownership of their gaming choices.
Talk about the potential risks: The child in your life might not fully understand that the gaming activities they’re witnessing are actually gambling, or that watching individuals playing online casino games or other forms of gambling on Twitch could create negative emotions or behaviors. Clear communication can help youth understand the risks involved.
Change the Game Ohio offers a wide variety of resources to help your child set limits and become aware of their gaming activities. For more information on youth gambling and to access free resources, please visit ChangeTheGameOhio.org.