According to National Public Radio, (NPR), right-wing, hate groups are pouring into the online game sector for the sole purpose of recruiting, (some would call it ‘radicalizing’), young impressionable minds in order to promote their agenda. There is a large group of possible, new ‘haters’ within online games since 97% of male teens and 83% of female teens play online games according to the Pew Research Center. Many of these teens are already angry at someone or something or maybe they are desperately unhappy with their own life. These teens are ripe for recruitment!
Of course, this is not happening only in online games, this is happening on any sites where teens tend to gather, such as, reddit, discord, twitter, and facebook, to mention just a few.
However, the hate-group members are internet-savvy and they recognize that most of the First Person Shooter, (FPS), games attract teens that enjoy joining heavily armed teams of shooters, (or gangs), and they enjoy violence in their games; in short, they can release their frustrations and get satisfaction from the death and destruction! Plus, just about all of these multiplayer games have a chat function where the players can communicate with each other by typing and/or by voice. This chat feature puts the right-wing haters in direct contact with teens that are impressionable and angry.
The United Kingdom has raised the sin tax on several item and industries including gambling. Other products that are affected are cigarettes, and wine. this is not the first time that the sin tax has risen, but this time comes during the Brexit turmoil. The gambling industry will be hit by a 1 billion GBP raise over the next five years. The tax on online casino games will rise from 15% to 21%.
A sin tax is a penalty on goods, usually paid at the retail level, that have been deemed unhealthy for the general population and society overall.
A few of the products affected now or in the past are:
- plastic bags,
- and soft drinks.
Other sin taxes recently levied:
- A bottle of wine goes up by 7pence, (9 cents),
- Sparkling wine by 10p, (13 cents).
- Average pack of 20 cigarettes to rise above 10GBP ($13).
On the other hand, the duty hikes on beer and spirits was cancelled to the pleasant surprise of beer wholesalers and the pubs. This is great news for the pub-going British tradition!
In June of 2018, the World Health Organization, (WHO), officially created a new psychological disorder: “gaming disorder” for it’s International Classification of Diseases, (ICD). This shocked many health care professionals because they think excessive gaming is just a sign of a much broader mental issue of excaping to an alternative reality rather than being limited to only gamers.
Nevertheliess, WHO stuck to it’s guns and published the top signs of gaming disorder:
The Main symtoms:
- The behavior must cause marginalization of other daily activities
- The behavior must impair control, despite consequences, persistently or recurrently for at least a year
- The behavior must lead to significant distress in social, familial and personal functioning
- Physical craving and/or preoccupation with the behavior
- Failed attempts to control use
- Lying about use
- A growing tolerance that requires increasing frequency to achieve prior levels of satisfaction
- Withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety and sadness when deprived of the behavior
Discussions of gaming addiction usually centers around kids because the adults in their life notice behavior that they did not see in their own childhood. However, surprisingly, the average age of video game players, (not necessarily addicted), is 35. On the other hand, polls show that kids spend more time on their devices than the older set and that’s why the professionals are more concerned with the youth online. Plus, their minds are not fully developed and therefore more vulnerable.
Several times each year the FBI will issue a warning regarding the possible dangers of some online games for children. The latest FBI warning comes on the heels of an FBI bust of twenty-four men in New Jersey for soliciting kids for sex. Two games in particular were mentioned: Fortnite and Minecraft, but there are dozens of multi-player online games that encourage chat among the players. The chat feature is the main problem because that is exactly how the predators connect with the kids.
In New Jersey, the FBI ran a sting named ‘Operation Open House’ where FBI agents played the online games posing as children. The predators were also posing as kids in order to earn the trust of their unsuspecting victims.
As usual education of children seems to be the best prevention. Kids are getting online at younger and younger ages nowadays, so talk to them at an early age – no need to wait. There are many websites that give advice on the warning signs of predators, but one of the most obvious is when another player is overly friendly, too eager to become friends. After all, that’s why the predator is there, not to play the game, but to ‘play’ your child.
This past Friday, Sweden’s gaming regulatory body known as Lotteriinspektionen announced that it had received 55 new licence applications for online casino gambling. Sweden’s new gambling laws that allow online gambling will become effect on January 1, 2019.
Reportedly, some of those applications were found to be incomplete and might not even be considered. The incompleteness is most likely being caused by the lack of details regarding how to new gambling law will be enforced. Many operators are requesting that sports betting be included, but the response from Lotteriinspektionen has so far been vague. There is also the matter of the operator’s right to advertise, but Lotteriinspektionen’s response to this was: “we do not have concrete answers” on that issue.
Currently, there is only the state-owned Svenska Spel which can legally take bets inside Sweden. That monopoly by Sweden’s government had received much criticism over the years. However, that situation is sure to change on January 1, 2019 as dozens of the new applications are approved.
This new legislation is meant to created strict regulations for it’s licensed operators, such as, protecting players from excessive gambling, prohibit betting on events featuring underage persons, and only offer bonuses to new members. It also includes text aimed at punishment for match fixing and prohibits advertising that is directly targeting underage persons.
So often we hear about the top money making online games like Fortnite and Call of Duty; those first person shooting games that encourage death and destruction. However, not all online games are like those. There are many that give the kids plenty of fun and challenge, plus they actually teach the kids something worthwhile.
The Pubic Broadcasting Service, (PBS), has some of the absolute best online games that can be found anywhere for children of all ages. We’ve listed a few of their best titles below.
Wild Kratts Rescue Run
This fun game features three different characters that your child can choose to play. Also the location of the gameplay can be chosen from the Australian Outback, a wintery North American forest, or a South American rain forest.
The Cat in the Hat Builds That!
This intriguing game is based on the PBS show, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That and includes some of Dr. Seuss’s most recognizable characters. It also includes three mini-games and is aimed mostly at the pre-K crowd. Each game has challenges which are rewarded by being able to decorate and house and backyard.
Animal Home Builder
In this game children will learn how to build houses for their animals, such as, a cat condo or bunny cage. There are also building materials for cats, dogs, and rabbits.
Overall, these games can’t be geat for the younger kids! Give them a try!