Center for Digital Youthcare (Center for Digital Pædagogik)
Vulnerable young boys
Even though young people under the age of 18 are not allowed to partake in gambling, betting ect. it would be a mistake to assume that they do not live their daily lives in a (digital) world, where economical and social gains are considered necessary priorities. What this means, is that it is increasingly important that both the young people and the adults who are close to them are adequately prepared and able to navigate the increasingly complex and camouflaged world of skin betting and money-gambling, which has become an additional layer of many computer games, in recent years.
With this in mind, the overall goal of the project is to be a precautionary measure against problematic game-related behaviour in the digital environments of adolescents and young adult boys that are 12 – 21 years old, and to achieve this through group activities, focusing on parent-participation, active self-help and social training.
The project came about as a response to the need for an increased awareness regarding the consequences of computer games’ entry into the market of games involving money-gambling.
The method has been continuously developed and tested since 2015, as a pilot- and cooperation project between Center for Digital Youth Care and the local authorities of the Aarhus Municipality. 27 young people have been enrolled in the pilot-project. Of these, nine have since finished their involvement, and 18 remain part of the project. So far, the results indicate that, as social competences are trained and acquired by the young boys, the amount of gaming, as well as the amount of conflicts related to gaming, is lessened, and that likewise, the same is true regarding the risky behaviour related to money-gambling-games and skin betting.
The young people meet twice weekly, while two youth workers are also present. The group activity is divided into three levels; an aspiring team, an elite team, and an exit program. This means that the young people will go through different stages of development, and that therefore it is possible to measure which parts of the project are having the biggest positive impact on the risky game related behaviour of the young people.
Furthermore the parents are invited to monthly “parent-evenings” with joint meetings. Here the digital lives of the young people are discussed, thus providing an opportunity to lessen the divide between the parents and the young people, which, in turn, hopefully leads to fewer conflicts between the the two.
Cooperation between a private NGO and municipal authorities made it possible for the pilot project to offer a strong activity initiative, with an innovative and unique combination of specialized knowledge concerning the culture and language of the gamers, combined with a specialized knowledge concerning socially vulnerable young people. Minimum requirements regarding physical resources; a large room, 5-6 gaming-capable computers, and two youth workers.
So fare, the results indicate that as the young people train and acquire social competences, their use of computer games, as well as the amount of conflicts pertaining to games, is lessened, along with the behaviour related to money-gambling-games and skin betting.
The results are already really good. The project is continuously evaluated, but the final evaluation will be done at the start of 2019.