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4 July 2018
By Rebecca Avery

Parent Zone publish new research into 'skin gambling'

Parent Zone have recently published a report which looks into the world of virtual currency betting and online gambling, known as 'skin gambling'.

Skins are virtual items that can be won or purchased within certain video games to decorate and customise weapons. They rarely affect gameplay and are mainly aesthetic but, due to their popularity, a marketplace has developed for the trading of skins and prices can range from a few pence to over £20,000.

Parent Zone commissioned a survey which involved 1,001 children aged 13 to 18 and explored what they knew about 'skin gambling'. They also visited six UK secondary schools and spoke to mixed groups of boys and girls, aged 12 to 16. The report contains key definitions and a useful case study to help readers understand how easy, or difficult, 'skin gambling' is.

Key findings include:

  • 90% of 13-18 year-olds interviewed played games online
  • Nearly a third (30%) had heard of skin gambling
  • 10% had gambled skins in some form.
    • 29% think it is a ‘very big’ or ‘fairly big’ problem
  • 1 in 5 of all the children surveyed that had skin gambled were female - this is not just an issue for boys
  • 46% of children across the UK aged 13-17 said they were able to access 18+ websites if they wanted

What does this mean for educational settings?

  • Advice and information should be provided to children to help them understand the difference between gaming and gambling.
  • Children should be educated to understand the risks of gambling in an unregulated environment, especially without the knowledge of an adult.
  • Advice should be provided for parents/carers to help increase awareness of skins gambling, including why children do it, possible consequences and practical boundaries to put in place regarding online purchases.

The full report can be read here.