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The lottery is a game that is meant to be played only by adults and shops must prohibit the selling of scratch-off tickets to minors.

The campaign ‘’Lottery Tickets are Not Child’s Play’’ is held for the fifth successive year and was inaugurated from the Responsible Play Partnership, which is made up of the New York Lottery, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the New York Council on Problem Gambling. In general, the law does not prohibit people under 18 years old from playing a scratch-off ticket but prohibits the purchase of lottery tickets. Thus, in any place where alcohol is served, it is allowed to buy lottery tickets strictly by people over 21 years old.

“The earlier a young person is introduced to gambling, the more likely they are to become problem gamblers as adults,” Arlene González-Sánchez, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services commissioner, said. Specifically, she pointed out that adults should not encourage young people to buy lottery tickets, even if it seems like a fun pastime, because they give the wrong message and do not constitute the good role models.

It is important to mention that the lottery has received publicity in recent months for whopping grand prizes as the two previous months Mega Millions ticket sales jumped with the jackpot rising $1.6 billion.

However, Jim Maney, the executive director of New York Council on Problem Gambling, raised a concern and passed a message by stating: “We discourage youth involvement in any form of gambling, including lottery scratch-off tickets.”

A new legislation, about porn websites, is to be implemented in UK in order to verify the age of those who want to see this content.

After the announcement of this law, some websites with pornographic content decided to close down as ‘’Dirty Boyz’’. Specifically, the publisher of this magazine announced in October that last month’s issue would be its last, saying that: ‘’Following the Conservative government’s decision to press ahead with new regulations forcing websites which make money from adult content to carry an age verification system, Dirtyboyz and its website dirtyboyz.xxx have made the decision to close.’’

The UK’s Conservative government takes new measures in order to ensure the protection of minors when they browse online on websites with inappropriate content like pornography. Their goal is to make the internet a safer place for children. Indeed, the new legislation constituted part of the Digital Economy Act 2017, but there was a delay in its implementation.

However, besides commercial porn sites, the impact on social media remains unclear. For example, Tumblr officially announced the ban of pornographic content and the implementation of new guidelines against ‘’adult content’’. Facebook has also received stricter measures to bar ‘’explicit sexual activity’’. On the other hand, pornographic content remains rife on Twitter. A Twitter spokesperson told GSN it was mindful of protecting young people from adult content. However, he supported: ‘’There is no simple solution to age verification, and while Twitter is not a service that has a youthful audience, we still have a responsibility as an industry player to contribute to the overall health of the internet space’’. Specifically, Twitter is a means of social networking, in which it is very easy for a visitor or a user to look up any adult porn performer and come across with graphic content with a couple of clicks.

This is a good example for which the government in UK, should take action to make this platform safer for any age and more readily accessible to such content.

 

One of the most well-known video game publishers in China, Tencent, implemented a new software using facial recognition in order to verify the age of the players and protect those, who are under 18 years old.

According to this new software, users who are under 18 years old are strictly obliged to play only two hours a day and children who are under 12 years old, only one hour a day. After the implementation of this method, Tencent noticed that a large percentage of players found many ways to violate and delude the system. Specifically, young players were using pictures of sleeping relatives and impersonating their grandparents while on the phone with customer service. In addition to this, there were also children who convinced the adults to call customer service in order to ban the age verification.

However, based on artificial intelligence and data collection, Tencent managed to monitor player behavior and detect if someone has been connected and plays using adult’s details. For example, in one of the most popular video games ‘’Honour of Kings’’ and after the survey that conducted about the effectiveness of the facial recognition software, it was noticed that about half of the players followed the process successfully. On the other hand, the other half did not comply with the rules and the new system and the 98% declined the facial recognition test, using the above-mentioned ways.

The company was not affected by these results but instead, decided to implement this system which concerns the age restrictions in 10 most popular video games.

It is also important to mention that China constitutes the largest video game market all over the world and Chinese regulations decided to slow the approval process for new games in the country. However, they claim that the implementation of Tencent’s age verification software could be a turning point for the country’s growing interest in video games and a good solution for the protection of young people.

 

The increased amount of online e-cigarettes sales has driven, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, on October 31, to fill a complaint in California state court and blame California-based e-cigarette Company for selling vaping products to minors. Investigators discovered that the company was targeting minors by posting youth vaping on social media accounts and also, making their packaging more friendly to underage children resembling fruit-flavored cereal, donuts etc. Not only that but the company also didn’t use age verification systems as supposed to do. Investigators easily gained entrance by using fake e-mails and ordering via internet vaping products.

Also, in California city attorney’s office filed suit against a vaping retailer. In this situation company sold e-cigarettes and e-liquids in violation of FDA regulatory requirements. Specifically, the supposed health warnings were missing from the labels of the products. The suit was about company’s violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, its Safe Drinking Water, and the Toxic Enforcement Act, as well as the State’s Stop Tobacco Access to the Kids Enforcement Act.

The result of the suits didn’t take long to appear. One company removed all e-liquid products from its website and another one entered into a stipulation requiring compliance with the STAKE Act and proper age verification. Practically, the company required a copy of ID for online orders and also verified the customer’s information from a database to configure that the customers were 21 years of age or older and finally, placed a phone call before shipping any tobacco products. A compliance report every 60 days was essential for demonstrating compliance with the STAKE Act.

FDA and state regulators are in charge of policing the sale of vaping products in minors. This may be a very first step for minimizing the number of sales to underage, by enforcing age verification systems for online sales.

Northern Ireland political party Sinn Féin decided to set stricter laws for online gaming in order to protect young people from gambling addiction and developing related problems.

In addition to this, current legislation must definitely change as it is really complex, old and not appropriate for purpose, according to Catherine Kelly, Member of the Legislative Assembly and Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for children and young people, who made the plea in response to a new UK Gambling Commission report.

Moreover, the legislation about gambling in Northern Ireland is different from the other countries in the UK, as gambling in the former is regulated under the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements Order 1985. Specifically, then, the Order did not mention anything about online or mobile gambling and focused only on people under 18 not being allowed into a licensed office.

“Online gambling has become more accessible for children and young people who can now access gambling online without having to leave their homes,” Kelly said and continued: “I am concerned at the use of persuasive advertising and promotion on gambling which is undoubtedly attracting more young people to take in betting and gambling.”

According to a survey, which conducted on November 21st, of 2,865 11 to 16 year-olds in the UK, it was found that approximately 39% of minors had gambled using their own money over the last 12 years. It was also noticed that 14% of young people had done exactly the same in the last week. If this rate was consistent across all 11 to 16 year-olds in the UK, it would mean that about 450.000 children in this age group were gambling.

Catherine Kelly was also referred to the current legislation, arguing that it is worrying the fact that it allows playing online gambling up to 72 hours, without verifying their identity. However, the UK regulator has already focused on improving age verification checks in order to keep minors away from regulated forms of gambling and to ensure their security.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that one of their plans is to ban most retailers from selling flavored e-cigarettes, trying to reduce the popularity of vaping among young people.

Specifically, the agency decided to require some age-verification measures in order to ensure the prohibition on purchases about flavor pods of minors. Specific measures have been taken which will be announced next week in detail, according to a senior agency official. ‘’Youth vaping a pernicious public health problem’’ supported the agency’s commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb and he added that: ‘’In order to close the on-ramp to e-cigarettes for kids, we have to put in place some speed bumps for adults’’.

Tobacco companies started with an effort to reduce flavors from e-cigarettes, which, according to them, are not aimed at youths but at adults who want to replace tobacco cigarettes. The F.D.A., though believes that some flavors like mango and crème make the tobacco products more appealing to youth.

In addition to this, Dr. Gottlieb said that there is a general perception that e-cigarettes are not very harmful to kids but on the contrary, constitute a safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes. As he said, though ‘’it can lead to a lifelong addiction, and some percentage will migrate to combustible products.”

JUUL tried to reinforce this effort of keeping these products away from teenagers. Therefore, flavored products, which until now were legal at the age of 18, will now be sold on the JUUL website, strictly to those over the age of 21. Apart from this, the company decided to delete its social media accounts and continue trying to remove inappropriate content on third party accounts.

Our intent was never to have youth use JUUL products. But intent is not enough, the numbers are what matter, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem. We must solve it,” JUUL CEO, Kevin Burns, said.

A new online program is about to be implemented in order to advise parents how to keep their tweens away from pornographic websites. Specifically, Culture Reframed decided to set up a free online course for parents, which aims to help them combat any anxiety and panic while presenting ways in which they can help their children resist to hyper sexualized culture and the impacts of pornography.

According to a valid research which conducted from Middlesex University, about 53% of 11- to 16-year-olds in the UK have seen explicit material online, nearly all of whom (94%) had seen it by 14. Meanwhile, the majority of tweens (59% of nine to ten-year-olds which rises to 90% of 11-year-olds) own smartphones, which means that they have easy access to such content through social media. Therefore, the results of the study showed that about 53% of 11 to 16-year-olds in the UK have seen explicit material online, nearly all of whom (94%) had seen it by the age of 14.

After a survey that be held by the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) and the children’s commissioner for England, was found that: ‘’Children often feel ashamed, guilty or confused about what they’ve seen online and 80% of young people felt that age verification was needed for sites to protect young people from accessing adult content.’’ Thus, UK Safer Internet Centre, Childnet, and Internetmatters.org did not remain uninvolved and organized workshops in schools where there are discussions about online safety and online porn.

However, there are schools where there is absolutely no mention of such issues and teachers seem to be indifferent to the protection of their pupils, leaving kids to deal with porn culture on their own. During the course, parents adopt clear guidance and advice on helping their children understand the bad consequences of sexist and degrading images. In addition to this, Andrea Rippon, a Certified Parent Educator (www.parentingclass.co.uk), specializing in communication and relationship skills offered this advice to parents of tweens concerned about porn: Have this conversation with your child – a stitch in time can save nine. Here are some pointers to help you on your way:

  1. Your role is to guide and influence, which means you need to be calm and non-judgemental. The better the relationship you have with your child, the more likely they are to listen and be influenced by you.
  2. Read all the information from articles in papers, magazines and on the internet.
  3. Ask permission – For example: Can we make some time to talk about porn?
  4. The discussion must be done in the appropriate time – undisturbed, one to one, in the car or on a walk.
  5. Ask questions – Don’t make an interrogation, keep it calm and conversational. You can also ask them if they have any questions.
  6. Influence – Take advantage of your knowledge and experiences.
  7. Guidance – Set some rules and show how to use the Internet safely.
  8. Thank your child – Tell them that you will be available at any time if they want to. Let them know that they must not be hesitant.

The phenomenon of “Bloodbath Britain” has grown in size due to the knife market from buy-and-sell app Facebook Marketplace. Underage children can buy freely knives online and specifically from Facebook pages and also these forbidden items can be delivered to them, even when they are at school. Facebook has gained more than 30 billion from kids about 12- 13 years old who use this page.

From January to April this year, the amount of stabbings have been increased and the specific number is 1,299. This incident has made desperate parents said that they are going to buy stab-proof vests for their children and for their safety.

The investigation by Sunday People discovered that first of all Facebook has no age verification system for users buying dangerous items like knives, also vendors are given no warning that they will be breaking the law if they flog blades to buyers under 18, alongside there are offers buy-one-get-one free discounts to underage children and finally, as we have said, one seller offers to deliver knives at the school gates.

Dr Mark Prince, whose 15-year-old son Kiyan was stabbed to death at his school gates, told: “It feels like we’re being ignored and our pain is being ignored. Nothing is really being done.” The problem exists and we should face it. Like investigators said at no point in their buying process their age was requested, even when they said that they are underage, the vendors didn’t refuse to sell the knives. Even more one of them offered to the child deliver at school in launch break.

Facebook has a corporate and moral responsibility to ensure it keeps people safe, so a Facebook spokesman replied to the charges and said: “Making sure people have a safe and positive experience on Facebook is our number one priority, which is why we use automation technology to help us identify items that may violate our policies. We do not allow the sale of non-culinary knives on Marketplace and work quickly to remove an item like this when we become aware. We also encourage our community to report any accounts or items that they feel don’t belong on Facebook, including sellers who they believe aren’t acting in good faith.”

In recent years, there has been a perception that pornographic films are absolutely legal in South Africa, however, this is wrong and is about a misconception.

Specifically, in 2006, the government of South Africa decided to ban the publication of sexual content on the country’s websites, including child pornography and depictions of violent sexual acts. However, the owners of websites that refuse to follow the above rules and act arbitrarily, are punishable by law under the Film and Publications Act 1996.

In addition to this, despite the strict punishment, in 2007, a South African “sex blogger’’ was the first person, who arrested because he had violated the relevant law and charged under this offense. In general, online pornography in South Africa is technically illegal as it is really difficult to verify the age of the users and apart from that, another important reason is the requirement that pornography only be distributed from designated, licensed physical premises.

What should be made absolutely clear is that under the Film and Publications Act 1996, only the pornographic material from South African sites is prohibited, unlike pornographic films and photographs originating from other different countries that are entirely legitimate. Meanwhile, the law which is currently applicable is only punishable in criminal terms for anyone, who owns a website on which the pornographic content is published. On the other hand, the individuals who appear and participate in the pornographic content and the consumers of the relevant, sexual content are not criminalized, except in the cases of filmed bestiality or sexual acts with persons under the age of 18.

The law about filmed and photographic pornography, containing participants under the age of 18, violent sexual acts or animals is really strict as all the above-mentioned are entirely illegal. Despite the age of consent being 16-years old in South Africa, it remains illegal for any person under the age of 18 to participate in or view a pornographic film.

Facial recognition technology is going to be used in UK supermarkets to verify the age of people who buy age-restricted products, such as alcohol and cigarettes. The pilot program will be launched by the end of the year and is expected to be spread widely in 2019. The program will be set in checkout areas in which customers serve themselves.

NCR, an American company which develops point-of-sale (PoS) systems for organizations like Tesco, Asda, and other supermarkets across the United Kingdom, will integrate facial recognition technology through a camera which is going to estimate the age of the customers by their appearance, in case they buy age-restricted products like alcohol and cigarettes. However, for cigarettes, the law that keeps cigarettes behind the counter should be changed.

This facial recognition program will reduce the required number of employees who manually verify the age of the customers. Maybe this will be frustrating for the people who wait in rows but for businesses will be profitable.

The pilot program is launching through a partnership between NCR and identity services platform Yoti, which developed the camera-based facial recognition software. The company says that personal data of customers are not held by the end of the purchase that is actually totally safe for buyers.

It is not yet revealed which supermarkets will adopt this new technology and will trial the system, but it is known that two out of Yoti’s four supermarket customers Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, will be involved. Which of them? Unknown. Sainsbury’s deny adopting this technology and Morrisons declare that it is not in their plans for this time. Tesco and Asda have not commented yet.

There are fears that this technology will not work in the near future, A Yoti spokesperson said: “We are unable to comment on partner news today, but expect to see the technology with major retailers soon.”

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