Yes We Can Youth Clinics pleads for a ban on addictive and gambling elements in games for minors

14 Nov 2019 - news

Monthly column by Jan Willem Poot , founder of Yes We Can Youth Clinics

Millions of young people all over the world game in their spare time. That's okay; it’s fun. But it has stay fun. It has to remain a leisure activity. And that's where it goes wrong, if it goes wrong.

More often we see young people coming into Yes We Can Youth Clinics who spend days, weeks, and even years, playing games. Earning models are changing as well, since more games are offered for free these days. Game manufacturers are doing their best to keep players in the game longer, have them come back more often and make purchases in the game. An alarming development. 

We see young people who lose themselves in this, by playing certain games too often and by making in-game purchases that they usually can't even afford. Purchases are for example loot-boxes, where the buyer doesn't really know what is being bought: for instance, it can be a fantastic skin, or a player that's useless. You don't know, so you take the chance by making the purchase and hope for the best: that’s gambling. 

Gambling is something we all forbid for minors, but which we apparently don’t mind in games. The same goes for alcohol and cigarettes: for minors these substances are not allowed because they are addictive. But games that contain elements that generate the 'urge for more', that produce the same dopamine, are okay for minors. 

This is what we want to make everyone, especially parents, aware of. They have to know that these addictive elements and gambling elements are in a lot of games so they can talk about it with their children. So they can make them aware of it too, and guide them in making sensible choices when it comes to gaming: the time and the money they spend on it.

As the international youth clinic treating hundreds of young gaming addicts every year, we advocate for a ban on these addictive and gambling elements in games, at least for minors. They are too young and too vulnerable to make the right decision and we believe there will be big problems with this group of young people if there will not be any type of regulation.

That is why we disseminate this statement as much as possible in the media, through our own channels, and so on. And of course we hope that this will ensure that a ban will actually become reality. We will continue our efforts until we reach the desired result and we call on everyone to learn more about this and to join in on our efforts. We are convinced that we can achieve this together: Yes We Can.