YGAM is excited to announce that it has updated its legal name. We wanted to reflect the growing emphasis on gaming and digital resilience in our work with young people so we have changed our name to the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust. We’ll still be known and trade as YGAM, to show our role in getting young people, and those working with young people, to think about why they might game or gamble, how to stay safe, and where to get help if they need it.
The change in our legal name has come about as the work of the charity has developed in its first four years. During this time the impact and risks of gaming have emerged as an important theme. In 2018, the World Health Organization listed gaming addiction as a mental health condition for the first time. With over £5.7bn in sales of gaming products annually, the world of gaming is here to stay.
Research shows the majority of 9-16 year olds go online at least once a week and a high proportion, do so daily. Around half find online interactions are more straightforward than those taking place face-to-face, which has to be of concern to our society, it is certainly a concern for YGAM. We believe gambling and gaming do overlap, as do the risks and behaviours, but they are also unique areas in themselves. Our accredited workshops for teachers and all practitioners working with young people are being expanded to include more information on gaming and digital resilience.
As a charity we want to have the same links, connections and respect with the gaming industry as we have successfully established with the gambling sector, who do engage with the importance of education and safeguarding for young and vulnerable people.
Our work has consistently evolved over the years. Taking teacher and practitioner feedback onboard, supporting them to implement our programme with young people and understanding its impact has been humbling. Adding to this the consistent scrutiny and feedback from our quality-assurance partners such as Pearson, PSHE Association and academic evaluations, it has become clearer that gaming is as much of a potential risk to young people as gambling is. Indeed, YGAM have been talking about Loot Boxes, Skins and Mystery Boxes for over two-years now and the change to our legal name demonstrates more clearly the breadth of our social purpose.
Written by Lee Willows, Chief Executive, YGAM