Although before the Internet age, it was almost unthinkable that minors or teenagers could actively participate in gambling, let alone participate in games in casinos, but now the situation is just the opposite. In fact, there is almost no place left without Internet access or WLAN reception. In addition, for many young people, the use of digital media today is as natural as tying shoelaces. For many children and young people, the Internet has become an additional playground and meeting place, many adults also use a variety of entertainment products and platforms, such as online casinos .
The explosive thing about this issue is that there is almost no mechanism to prevent 100% of young people from being active on platforms that are not suitable for their age, for example. Risk does not necessarily come from games of chance in online casinos. What even many adults, parents and teachers don’t know is that even the harmless online games like the popular football simulator FIFA contain potentially dangerous content. It has nothing to do with the description of violence or similar content, but with in-game purchases, so-called loot boxes, and the possibility of using other chat rooms in the game.
Reform the Youth Protection Act
Politicians reacted to this and decided to amend the law in March 2021. Young people should be better protected, and parents, supervisors and teaching staff should be given more information and guidance. In addition, providers must also comply with a new legal framework. As a result of the revision of the Youth Protection Act, well-known information known to USK (Entertainment Software Self-Control) regarding age recommendations for online and video games will be supplemented in the future. It aims to point out vague use risks, such as elements similar to gambling. Interestingly, a similar system established by IARC (International Age Classification Alliance) already exists internationally.
Game providers and platform operators that use this feature will receive a form with questions about the protection of minors, which is used to classify age recommendations. As long as there is a chance to win or lose real money in the game, the game will be marked “gamble with money”. Providers who want to counteract this problem in order to continue to provide games to young people can choose to expand on the technical level. For example, they can provide in-game purchases or chat boxes and similar functions depending on whether the target group is disabled.