Opinions

Child-appealing online gambling apps are dangerous for kids

The handful of games Facebook features on its website are addicting enough, but social network games are going to become even more addictive as companies begin incorporating real-cash gambling apps to into social networks.

In the United Kingdom, online gambling is legal. Since the U.K. is online gambling friendly, Facebook has decided to take advantage by introducing a group of new gambling apps.

One of the games released by the company Gamesys, has come under much scrutiny due to its “child-friendly” logo and gameplay.

The app Bingo & Slots Friendzy features cute-fluffy balls with big eyes and big smiles on its logo and masthead.

It bears a striking resemblance to characters from a social game aimed at children, Moshi Monsters.

While a spokeswoman for Gamesys has said the company has, “no intention of marketing to kids,” just a glance at the characters associated with this app lead you to believe this could be a children’s game.

There are stacks of money and gold chips sitting behind the overjoyed balls of fluff, but a child could easily mistake this as a new version of Angry Birds.

However, to say there are not games with vivid colors and funky characters aimed at adults is a misnomer.

I, for one, am a sucker for games in my app store that are marketed for children, but still found enjoyable for adults.

However, these games are not associated with a potentially detrimental adult addiction such as gambling.

Gambling apps should in no way be mistaken as a children’s game. Any slight resemblance can encourage kids to play the app and inadvertently get them addicted to gambling at a young age.

Facebook and gaming companies will be taking extra precautions to make sure the games don’t get into tiny hands.

Using Facebook’s age-gating and geo-location technology, the games would need to verify people are over the age of 18 by requiring a credit or debit card and a scanned identification, either a passport, driving license or birth certificate.

But, even with these precautions, how can they prove it is actually someone of age sitting behind the computer feeding the information?

Not to mention, many parents enable their children to play games outside their targeted age group, whether it is knowingly or not.

This leaves a very flawed system where children will easily be drawn into the world of gambling by cute fuzzy creatures encouraging them waste their money.

It is hard to back a game company that exposes children to the world of gambling.

While it may not be marketing towards children intentionally, the games are blatantly appealing to children.

Online gambling app creators should take more responsibility and realize the detrimental effect their games could have on children by marketing their games in this manner.

Think of the children!

Chasen Doerr is a senior journalism major and the opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

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