I’m missing the cappuccino from my local coffee shop that I just can’t recreate at home. It still resembles a flat white. Maybe I can blow through a straw to whip up a smidgen of foam. Desperate times.  However, there is good news!  It’s my second week into the role as YGAM’s Education Manager for Greater London, and I’m having some amazing conversations with those who work with children and young people about the training that we offer. Gaming and gambling are hot topics in the media. People are interested. They want to understand more about the potential harms. They want to start a conversation.  

I’ve just finished a call with a chap who runs a youth programme for a football community trust. We  discussed scratch cards and lottery tickets and the abundance of advertising and marketing in sports. A recent study by Ipsos MORI found that only 4% of 11-24 year olds reported having no exposure to gambling marketing in the last month.

I speak with others about how, especially in the time of covid-19, that that young people  will be spending even more time online. It’s not necessarily bad. They’re on with their mates and that’s how they socialise nowadays. 93% of children game, but we acknowledge that a lot of us don’t really understand this secret world. How do we speak to a young person about it, when their knowledge often far outweighs ours? And boy, when they’re in the middle of a game and we call then down for dinner, how grumpy do they get!

This stuff is important. It’s about starting the conversation. Practitioners and the team at YGAM are passionate about educating our young people, equiping them with the skills to make informed decisions, understand risk and ensure that they are safe on-line. It’s always good to talk. Especially now.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch. Maybe we could have a virtual coffee. Although I suspect that you might brew a better cup. Stay safe.

Sandy Thompson, Greater London Education Manager Sandythompson@ygam.org