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Holiday Gifting for Parents: Nurturing Responsible Habits and Avoiding Youth Gambling Pitfalls

The holiday season is a time of joy, generosity, and family gatherings. As parents, it’s natural to want to make this time special for our children through thoughtful and exciting gifts. However, in the age of digital advancements and online temptations, it’s crucial for parents to approach holiday gifting with an awareness of potential risks, particularly the connection between holiday gifting and youth gambling. This blog serves as a guide to parent-safe holiday gifting, offering insights into fostering responsible habits and avoiding the pitfalls associated with youth gambling.

Understanding the Landscape

The prevalence of online platforms, gaming, and digital interactions has transformed the way young people engage with the world. While technology opens up new avenues for entertainment and connection, it also introduces challenges, such as the increased accessibility of gambling activities. Some examples of increased accessibility include mobile sports betting, slot gambling apps, and gambling on loot boxes within video games. Parents play a vital role in guiding their children toward responsible behaviors, especially through holiday gifting.

Parent-Safe Holiday Gifting Tips

  • Lead by Example: Model responsible behavior in your own gift-giving practices. Avoid            giving gifts that promote gambling, such as scratch offs. 
  • Foster Financial Literacy: Use the holiday season as an opportunity to teach your child about financial responsibility. Consider gifts that promote financial literacy, such as savings accounts, piggy banks, or educational games that teach budgeting and money management.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Establish clear expectations and boundaries regarding gift-giving. Communicate openly with your children about responsible behaviors, emphasizing the importance of thoughtful and age-appropriate gifts. 
  • Encourage Educational Gifts: Prioritize gifts that contribute to your child’s education and skill development. Consider books, educational games, or creative tools that foster learning and creativity, providing a positive alternative to potentially risky activities.
  • Promote Outdoor and Offline Activities: Encourage gifts that promote outdoor play and offline interactions. Sports equipment, board games, or hobby-related gifts can redirect attention away from screen-based activities, reducing the likelihood of engaging in online gambling.

Youth Holiday Tech-Use

  • Be Mindful of Online Platforms: Monitor the online platforms your child uses, especially those that involve social interactions. Be vigilant about age restrictions on gambling sites and ensure that your child is not exposed to inappropriate content.
  • Stay Informed About Online Trends: Keep yourself informed about the latest online trends, especially those related to gaming and gambling. Understanding the digital landscape will help you make informed decisions about age-appropriate gifts and monitor your child’s online activities.
  • Monitor In-Game Purchases: If your child is an avid gamer, be aware of in-game purchases and loot boxes that mimic gambling behavior. Set limits on spending, and discuss the potential risks associated with these features.

Help And Hope

For anyone worried that their youth, or anyone else in the family, struggling with a gambling problem, there is help and hope. For 24/7 support, call the NYS OASAS HOPEline at 1-877-846-7369 or text 467369. Or choose your county using our interactive map www.NYProblemGamblingHELP.org to see the contact information for the Problem Gambling Resource Center (PGRC) in your region. We want you to know that you are not alone, and that help is available. 


Parent-safe holiday gifting involves a thoughtful approach to ensure the well-being and development of our children. By staying informed, setting clear expectations, and choosing gifts that encourage positive habits, parents can create a holiday atmosphere that nurtures responsible behavior, and helps safeguard against the risks associated with youth gambling.