A recent study conducted by researchers from Bristol University in the UK found that numerous betting firms were flouting strict advertising regulations in order to encourage children to engage with esports gambling. Like most other developed countries, there are strict and specific laws in place designed to protect British children from potentially damaging and addictive activities like gambling.
Betting Sites Targeting Children For eSports Betting
The researchers discovered that most online gambling firms were not using any kind of age verification to ensure that their adverts were not being placed in front of children. Furthermore, the researchers found that a quarter of all the online users responding to Twitter posts concerning betting odds for esports matches were aged under 16.
Esports betting has been on the rise for some time, and many of the most popular games to bet on are titles such as Fortnite that have a significant following among those too young to gamble.
The revelations that betting firms are able to advertise to children so freely and apparently without consequence should be alarming to everyone. The UK is far from unique in having no specific legislation in place to deal with online gambling advertising, and given that the internet is the same wherever in the world you are, it is very unlikely that this is a problem specific to the United Kingdom.
In fact, the researchers found that while 28% of the responses to esports Tweets in the UK were from under-16s, this figure rises to 45% worldwide. Almost three-quarters of the esports Tweets analyzed were found to be in breach of advertising regulations, presenting gambling as a potential source of income and encouraging unhealthy gambling.
These revelations succinctly demonstrate the importance of keeping your family data safe and educating your children about the importance of data security.
How To Protect Your Family’s Data
There is no end to the number of people and businesses trying to collect your data today. The fact that gambling companies are able to so openly get away with such flagrant violations of advertising regulations speaks to a general sense of complacency that seems commonplace among big businesses and industries when it comes to customer data.
It seems clear that the businesses themselves cannot be trusted as custodians of personal or sensitive data. Innumerable data breaches over the last few years are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the obvious data breaches and thefts, consumers also have to worry about businesses misusing customer data.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps that you can take to protect your family’s data. These measures will not make you immune from data misuse – nor will they directly prevent businesses from behaving badly – but they will minimize your family’s exposure to many of the most serious consequences of data protection failures.
1. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously insecure. Many of those who work in cybersecurity refuse to use one without a VPN or proxy in place (more on that later) because of the high risk of having data stolen.
It is considerably easier than most people realize to impersonate a Wi-Fi hotspot. In other words, anyone with a reasonable degree of skill when it comes to computers will be able to disguise their device as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This means that anyone logging on to what they think is a public Wi-Fi will actually be logging on to an attacker’s computer. Any data that they send through this connection can be read by the attacker, potentially including passwords and bank details.
2. Beware Of Phishing
A phishing attack is one where the attacker impersonates a legitimate website or business. In doing so, they are able to convince people to willingly hand over their login details. You should read up on how to spot a phishing attack and make sure that your family understands how to detect a phishing attempt. Phishing attacks are amongst the most common types of cyber-attack and they are very effective against those with limited computing knowledge.
3. Use Secure Passwords
Using an insecure or easy to guess password is just as bad as using no password at all. The most reliable way of using secure passwords for every service you sign up for is to get yourself a password manager. Password managers generate secure passwords for you and remember old passwords. All you need to do is to create a secure password for the manager itself.
A proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary between your device and the wider internet. When you connect via a proxy server, any websites or services that you connect to will see the IP address of your proxy server, not your device. This means that when your children are using the internet, it will be very difficult to track down their physical location from their IP address.
Unfortunately, as this research proves, guarding your personal data is only half the battle. Unless we, as consumers, are willing to pressure the businesses that we use to better protect our data, this behavior will likely continue. We all need to be willing to apply more pressure to businesses that play fast and loose with our data.