We asked Will Ridley, Chair of YGAM’s Young People & Student Advisory Group about his thoughts around Responsible Marketing in the run up to the KnowNow’s Conference in October. Here is what he said:
There has been lots of attention in the media recently to concerns that children are being exposed to too many betting adverts on TV in the UK. Whether it’s around big sport fixtures or pre-watershed, the discussions have also been going on around the world with Australia banning betting commercials accompanying live sports coverage and Italy have banned them altogether.
Is banning betting adverts really going to help and protect young children? Ofcom reported recently that 78% of adults (16+) in the UK own a smartphone. Are there more pressing issues that have been caused with rise in mobile technologies and social networking?
A recent study from the Gambling Commission suggests about 370,000 11 to 16-year-olds have gambled each week, with many doing it through online games or apps. There is a difference between gambling and gaming but there are also some similarities which can cause some disagreement. There are social games and apps which have loot box features and skins betting which can be considered a type of gambling to some. Skins are items which can be won or bought in a game to change a character, weapon or design, players can trade, bet on and sell their skins to get better ones. While this is not currently classed as a form of gambling and many people enjoy playing these games responsibly there has to be more that we can do to help safeguard young people and children.
At Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) we have two principle products aimed to build digital resilience in young and vulnerable people. The first is our accredited workshops where we train and certify teachers, youth workers, community mental health colleagues, prison & probation colleagues, and community volunteers to deliver the YGAM gambling & gaming-related harm prevention programme to young people.
The second product is university based, where we work in partnership with universities to train year two & three students to become YGAM Peer Mentors. Trained Peer Mentors are then employed part-time to deliver a range of gambling & gaming-related harm prevention programmes and awareness campaigns within their universities and local communities using our educational resources.
The YGAM programme and our resources have been accredited and quality-assured by the Ofqual-approved awarding body Pearson & ASDAN and are quality-assured by the PSHE Association. In addition, we have achieved the prestigious Pearson Assured quality-standard for the content and educational rigour of our education resources. YGAM’s programmes have been evaluated by City, University of London & University of East London and we are proudly an accredited Investors in People employer. Finally, YGAM is regulated by the UK Charity Commission and the UK Fundraising Regulator. No other education programme globally has such robust foundations.
Our programme is built around the YGAM curriculum which has been written and extensively piloted in partnership with the PSHE Association, Ofqual-approved awarding bodies Pearson and ASDAN, and various schools, colleges and universities in England. The programme compliments the National Curriculum, PSHE education, student enrichment, and Ofsted framework.
Bringing young people and students in to the debate around safer gambling and gaming is an important milestone for YGAM. With so much focus on protecting the young and vulnerable, yet this audience do not have a meaningful voice to influence positive change and share their insight. Therefore, I am delighted to be appointed as the Chair of the YGAM Young People & Advisory Group and I will develop and lead YGAM’s participation in this important area. At the KnowNow Limited conference I will share our progress to establish our group and our emerging thoughts and insight around responsible marketing alongside Mike Wojcik (CEO, Queen Mary University Students’ Union and Trustee at YGAM).
Author: Will Ridley, Chair of YGAM’s Young People & Student Advisory Group