Should adverts for social casino games be covered by gambling regulations?

Lord of the Rings slot machines at the Flamingo, image by jenneze (Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0). Unlike gambling played for real money, “social casino games” generally have no monetary prizes.

Social casino gaming, which simulates gambling games on a social platform such as Facebook, is a nascent but rapidly growing industry—social casino game revenues grew 97 percent between 2012 and 2013, with a USD$3.5 billion market size by the end of 2015. Unlike gambling played for real money, social casino games generally have no monetary prizes and are free-to-play, although they may include some optional monetised features. The size of the market and users’ demonstrated interest in gambling-themed activities mean that social casino gamers are an attractive market for many gambling operators, and several large international gambling companies have merged with social casino game operators.

Some operators consider the games to be a source of additional revenue in jurisdictions where online gambling is largely illegal, or a way to attract new customers to a land-based gambling venue. Hybrid models are also emerging, with the potential for tangible rewards for playing social casino games. This merging of gaming and gambling means that many previously established boundaries are becoming blurred, and at many points, the two are indistinguishable.

However, content analysis of game content and advertising can help researchers, industry, and policymakers better understand how the two entertainment forms overlap. In their Policy & Internet article “Gambling Games on Social Platforms: How Do Advertisements for Social Casino Games Target Young Adults?“, Brett Abarbanel, Sally M. Gainsbury, Daniel King, Nerilee Hing, and Paul H. Delfabbro undertake a content analysis of 115 social casino gaming advertisements captured by young adults during their regular Internet use. They find advertisement imagery typically features images likely to appeal to young adults, with message themes including a glamorising and normalisation of gambling. Notably, nearly 90 percent of the advertisements contained no responsible or problem gambling language, despite the gambling-like content.

Gambling advertisements currently face much stricter restrictions on exposure and distribution than do social casino game advertisements: despite the latter containing much gambling-themed content designed to attract consumers. Given the receptivity of young people to messages that encourage gambling, the authors recommend that gaming companies embrace corporate social responsibility standards, including adding warning messages to advertisements for gambling-themed games. They hope that their qualitative research may complement existing quantitative findings, and facilitate discussions about appropriate policies for advertisements for social casino games and other gambling-themed games.

We caught up with Brett to discuss their findings:

Ed.: You say there are no policies related to the advertising of social casino games—why is this? And do you think this will change?

Brett: Social casino games are regulated under general consumer regulations, but there are no specific regulations for these types of games and they do not fall under gambling regulation. Although several gambling regulatory bodies have considered these games, as they do not require payment to play and prizes have no monetary value they are not considered gambling activities. Where the games include branding for gambling companies or are considered advertising, they may fall under relevant legislation. Currently it is up to individual consumers to consider if they are relevant, which includes parents considering their children’s’ use of the games.

Ed.: Is there work on whether these sorts of games actually encourage gambling behaviour? As opposed to gambling behaviour simply pre-existing—i.e. people are either gamblers or not, susceptible or not.

Brett: We have conducted previous research showing that almost one-fifth of adults who played social casino games had gambled for money as a direct result of these games. Research also found that two-thirds of adolescents who had paid money to play social casino games had gambled directly as a result of these games. This builds on other international research suggesting that there is a pathway between games and gambling. For some people, the games are perceived to be a way to ‘try out’ or practice gambling without money and most are motivated to gamble due to the possibility of winning real money. For some people with gambling problems, the games can trigger the urge to gamble, although for others, the games are used as a way to avoid gambling in an attempt to cut back. The pathway is complicated and needs further specific research, including longitudinal studies.

Ed.: Possibly a stupid question: you say social games are a huge and booming market, despite being basically free to play. Where does the revenue come from?

Brett: Not a stupid question at all! When something is free, of course it makes sense to question where the money comes from. The revenue in these business models comes from advertisements and players. The advertisement revenue model is similar to other revenue models, but the player revenue model, which is based largely on micropayments, is a major component of how these games make money. Players can typically play free, and micropayments are voluntary. However, when they run out of free chips, players have to wait to continue to play, or they can purchase additional chips.

The micropayments can also improve game experience, such as to obtain in-game items, as a temporary boost in the game, to add lives/strength/health to an avatar or game session, or unlock the next stage in the game. In social casino games, for example, micropayments can be made to acquire more virtual chips with which to play the slot game. Our research suggests that only a small fraction of the player base actually makes micropayments, and a smaller fraction of these pay very large amounts. Since many of these games are free to play, but one can pay to advance through game in certain ways, they have colloquially been referred to as “freemium” games.

Ed.: I guess social media (like Facebook) are a gift to online gambling companies: i.e. being able to target (and A/B test) their adverts to particular population segments? Are there any studies on the intersection of social media, gambling and behavioural data / economics?

Brett: There is a reasonable cross-over in social casino game players and gamblers – our Australian research found 25% of Internet and 5% of land-based gamblers used social casino games and US studies show around one-third of social casino gamers visit land-based casinos. Many of the most popular and successful social casino games are owned by companies that also operate gambling, in venues and online. Some casino companies offer social casino games to continue to engage with customers when they are not in the venue and may offer prizes that can be redeemed in venues. Games may allow gambling companies to test out how popular games will be before they put them in venues. Although, as most players do not pay to play social casino games, they may engage with these differently from gambling products.

Ed.: We’ve seen (with the “fake news” debate) social media companies claiming to simply be a conduit to others’ content, not content providers themselves. What do they say in terms of these social games: I’m assuming they would either claim that they aren’t gambling, or that they aren’t responsible for what people use social media for?

Brett: We don’t want to speak for the social media companies themselves, and they appear to leave quite a bit up to the game developers. Advertising standards have become more lax on gambling games—the example we give in our article is Google, who had a strict policy against advertisements for gambling-related content in the Google Play store but in February 2015 began beta testing advertisements for social casino games. In some markets where online gambling is restricted, online gambling sites offer ‘free’ social casino games that link to real money sites as a way to reach these markets.

Ed.: I guess this is just another example of the increasingly attention-demanding, seductive, sexualised, individually targeted, ubiquitous, behaviourally attuned, monetised environment we (and young children) find ourselves in. Do you think we should be paying attention to this trend (e.g. noticing the close link between social gaming and gambling) or do you think we’ll all just muddle along as we’ve always done? Is this disturbing, or simply people doing what they enjoy doing?

Brett: We should certainly be paying attention to this trend, but don’t think the activity of social casino games is disturbing. A big part of the goal here is awareness, followed by conscious action. We would encourage companies to take more care in controlling who accesses their games and to whom their advertisements are targeted. As you note, David, we are in such a highly-targeted, specified state of advertising. As a result, we should, theoretically, be able to avoid marketing games to young kids. Companies should also certainly be mindful of the potential effect of cartoon games. We don’t automatically assign a sneaky, underhanded motive to the industry, but at the same time there is a percentage of the population that is at risk for gambling problems and we don’t want to exacerbate the situation by inadvertently advertising to young people, who are more susceptible to this type of messaging.

Read the full article: Abarbanel, B., Gainsbury, S.M., King, D., Hing, N., and Delfabbro, P.H. (2017) Gambling Games on Social Platforms: How Do Advertisements for Social Casino Games Target Young Adults? Policy & Internet 9 (2). DOI: 10.1002/poi3.135.

Brett Abarbanel was talking to blog editor David Sutcliffe.

Tackling Digital Inequality: Why We Have to Think Bigger

Outcomes of the many schemes financed by the government to address digital inequalities are rarely uniformly positive or transformative for the people involved. Image: iPad by Sean MacEntee (Flickr).

Numerous academic studies have highlighted the significant differences in the ways that young people access, use and engage with the Internet and the implications it has in their lives. While the majority of young people have some form of access to the Internet, for some their connections are sporadic, dependent on credit on their phones, an available library, or Wi-Fi open to the public. Qualitative data in a variety of countries has shown such limited forms of access can create difficulties for these young people as an Internet connection becomes essential for socialising, accessing public services, saving money, and learning at school.

While the UK government has financed technological infrastructure and invested in schemes to address digital inequalities, the outcomes of these schemes are rarely uniformly positive or transformative for the people involved. This gap between expectation and reality demands theoretical attention; with more attention placed on the cultural, political and economic contexts of the digitally excluded, and the various attempts to “include” them.

Focusing on a two-year digital inclusion scheme for 30 teenagers and their families initiated by a local council in England, a qualitative study by Huw C. Davies, Rebecca Eynon, and Sarah Wilkin analyses why, despite the good intentions of the scheme’s stakeholders, it fell short of its ambitions. It also explains how the neoliberal systems of governance that are increasingly shaping the cultures and behaviours of Internet service providers and schools—that incentivise action that is counterproductive to addressing digital inequality and practices—cannot solve the problems they create.

We caught up with the authors to discuss the study’s findings:

Ed.: It was estimated that around 10% of 13 year olds in the study area lacked dependable access to the Internet, and had no laptop or PC at home. How does this impact educational outcomes?

Huw: It’s impossible to disaggregate technology from everything else that can affect a young person’s progress through school. However, one school in our study had transferred all its homework and assessments online while the other schools were progressing to this model. The students we worked with said doing research for homework is synonymous with using Google or Wikipedia, and it’s the norm to send homework and coursework to teachers by email, upload it to Virtual Learning Environments, or print it out at home. Therefore students who don’t have access to the Internet have to spend time and effort finding work-arounds such as using public libraries. Lack of access also excludes such students from casual learning from resources online or pursuing their own interests in their own time.

Ed.: The digital inclusion scheme was designed as a collaboration between a local council in England (who provided Internet services) and schools (who managed the scheme) in order to test the effect of providing home Internet access on educational outcomes in the area. What was your own involvement, as researchers?

Huw: Initially, we were the project’s expert consultants: we were there to offer advice, guidance and training to teachers and assess the project’s efficacy on its conclusion. However, as it progressed we took on the responsibility of providing skills training to the scheme’s students and technical support to their families. When it came to assessing the scheme, by interviewing young people and their families at their homes, we were therefore able to draw on our working knowledge of each family’s circumstances.

Ed.: What was the outcome of the digital inclusion project—i.e. was it “successful”?

Huw: As we discuss in the article, defining success in these kinds of schemes is difficult. Subconsciously many people involved in these kinds of schemes expect technology to be transformative for the young people involved yet in reality the changes you see are more nuanced and subtle. Some of the scheme’s young people found apprenticeships or college courses, taught themselves new skills, used social networks for the first time and spoke to friends and relatives abroad by video for free. These success stories definitely made the scheme worthwhile. However, despite the significant good will of the schools, local council, and the families to make the scheme a success there were also frustrations and problems. In the article we talk about these problems and argue that the challenges the scheme encountered are not just practical issues to be resolved, but are systemic issues that need to be explicitly recognised in future schemes of this kind.

Ed.: And in the article you use neoliberalism as a frame to discuss these issues?

Huw: Yes. But we recognise in the article that this is a concept that needs to be used with care. It’s often used pejoratively and/or imprecisely. We have taken it to mean a set of guiding principles that are intended to produce a better quality of services through competition, targets, results, incentives and penalties. The logic of these principles, we argue, influences they way organisations treat individual users of their services.

For example, for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the logic of neoliberalism is to subcontract out the constituent parts of an overall service provision to create mini internal markets that (in theory) promote efficiency through competition. Yet this logic only really works if everyone comes to the market with similar resources and abilities to make choices. If their customers are well informed and wealthy enough to remind companies that they can take their business elsewhere these companies will have a strong incentive to improve their services and reduce their costs. If customers are disempowered by lack of choice the logic of neoliberalism tends to marginalise or ignore their needs. These were low-income families with little or no experience of exercising consumer choice and rights. For them therefore these mini markets didn’t work.

In the schools we worked with the logic of neoliberalism meant staff and students felt under pressure to meet certain targets—they all had to prioritise things that were measured and measurable. Failure to meet these targets would then mean they would have to account for what went wrong, face losing out on a reward or they would expect disciplinary action. It therefore becomes much more difficult for schools to devote time and energy to schemes such as this.

Ed.: Were there any obvious lessons that might lead to a better outcome if the scheme were to be repeated: or are the (social, economic, political) problems just too intractable, and therefore too difficult and expensive to sort out?

Huw: Many of the families told us that access to the Internet was becoming evermore vital. This was not just for homework but also for access to public and health services (that are being increasingly delivered online) and getting to the best deals online for consumer services. They often told us therefore that they would do whatever it took to keep their connection after the two-year scheme ended. This often meant paying for broadband out of their social security benefits or income that was too low to be taxable: income that could otherwise have been spent on, for example, food and clothing. Given its necessity, we should have a national conversation about providing this service to low income families for free.

Ed.: Some of the families included in the study could be considered “hard to reach”. What were your experiences of working with them?

Huw: There are many practical and ethical issues to address before these sorts of schemes can begin. These families often face multiple intersecting problems that involve many agencies (who don’t necessarily communicate with each other) intervening in their lives. For example, some of the scheme’s families were dealing with mental illness, disability, poor housing, and debt all at the same time. It is important that such schemes are set up with an awareness of this complexity. We are very grateful to the families that took part in the scheme and the insights they gave us for how such schemes should run in the future.

Ed.: Finally, how do your findings inform all the studies showing that “digital inclusion schemes are rarely uniformly positive or transformative for the people involved.” Are these studies gradually leading to improved knowledge (and better policy intervention), or simply showing the extent of the problem without necessarily offering “solutions”?

Huw: We have tried to put this scheme into a broader context to show such policy interventions have to be much more ambitious, intelligent, and holistic. We never assumed digital inequality is an isolated problem that can be fixed with a free broadband connection, but when people are unable to afford the Internet it is an indication of other forms of disadvantage that, in a sympathetic and coordinated way, have to be addressed simultaneously. Hopefully, we have contributed to the growing awareness that such attempts to ameliorate the symptoms may offer some relief but should never be considered a cure in itself.

Read the full article: Huw C. Davies, Rebecca Eynon, Sarah Wilkin (2017) Neoliberal gremlins? How a scheme to help disadvantaged young people thrive online fell short of its ambitions. Information, Communication & Society. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2017.1293131

The article is an output of the project “Tackling Digital Inequality Amongst Young People: The Home Internet Access Initiative,” funded by Google.

Huw Davies was talking to blog editor David Sutcliffe.

Young people are the most likely to take action to protect their privacy on social networking sites

A pretty good idea of what not to do on a social media site. Image by Sean MacEntee.

Standing on a stage in San Francisco in early 2010, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, partly responding to the site’s decision to change the privacy settings of its 350 million users, announced that as Internet users had become more comfortable sharing information online, privacy was no longer a “social norm”. Of course, he had an obvious commercial interest in relaxing norms surrounding online privacy, but this attitude has nevertheless been widely echoed in the popular media. Young people are supposed to be sharing their private lives online—and providing huge amounts of data for commercial and government entities—because they don’t fully understand the implications of the public nature of the Internet.

There has actually been little systematic research on the privacy behaviour of different age groups in online settings. But there is certainly evidence of a growing (general) concern about online privacy (Marwick et al., 2010), with a 2013 Pew study finding that 50 percent of Internet users were worried about the information available about them online, up from 30 percent in 2009. Following the recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance activities, a Washington Post-ABC poll reported 40 percent of its U.S. respondents as saying that it was more important to protect citizens’ privacy even if it limited the ability of the government to investigate terrorist threats. But what of young people, specifically? Do they really care less about their online privacy than older users?

Privacy concerns an individual’s ability to control what personal information about them is disclosed, to whom, when, and under what circumstances. We present different versions of ourselves to different audiences, and the expectations and norms of the particular audience (or context) will determine what personal information is presented or kept hidden. This highlights a fundamental problem with privacy in some SNSs: that of ‘context collapse’ (Marwick and boyd 2011). This describes what happens when audiences that are normally kept separate offline (such as employers and family) collapse into a single online context: such a single Facebook account or Twitter channel. This could lead to problems when actions that are appropriate in one context are seen by members of another audience; consider for example, the US high school teacher who was forced to resign after a parent complained about a Facebook photo of her holding a glass of wine while on holiday in Europe.

SNSs are particularly useful for investigating how people handle privacy. Their tendency to collapse the “circles of social life” may prompt users to reflect more about their online privacy (particularly if they have been primed by media coverage of people losing their jobs, going to prison, etc. as a result of injudicious postings). However, despite SNS being an incredibly useful source of information about online behaviour practices, few articles in the large body of literature on online privacy draw on systematically collected data, and the results published so far are probably best described as conflicting (see the literature review in the full paper). Furthermore, they often use convenience samples of college students, meaning they are unable to adequately address either age effects, or potentially related variables such as education and income. These ambiguities certainly provide fertile ground for additional research; particularly research based on empirical data.

The OII’s own Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) collect data on British Internet users and non-users through nationally representative random samples of more than 2,000 individuals aged 14 and older, surveyed face-to-face. One of the (many) things we are interested in is online privacy behaviour, which we measure by asking respondents who have an SNS profile: “Thinking about all the social network sites you use, on average how often do you check or change your privacy settings?” In addition to the demographic factors we collect about respondents (age, sex, location, education, income etc.), we can construct various non-demographic measures that might have a bearing on this question, such as: comfort revealing personal data; bad experiences online; concern with negative experiences; number of SNSs used; and self-reported ability using the Internet.

So are young people completely unconcerned about their privacy online, gaily granting access to everything to everyone? Well, in a word, no. We actually find a clear inverse relationship: almost 95% of 14-17-year-olds have checked or changed their SNS privacy settings, with the percentage steadily dropping to 32.5% of respondents aged 65 and over. The strength of this effect is remarkable: between the oldest and youngest the difference is over 62 percentage points, and we find little difference in the pattern between the 2013 and 2011 surveys. This immediately suggests that the common assumption that young people don’t care about—and won’t act on—privacy concerns is probably wrong.

Comparing our own data with recent nationally representative surveys from Australia (OAIC 2013) and the US (Pew 2013) we see an amazing similarity: young people are more, not less, likely to have taken action to protect the privacy of their personal information on social networking sites than older people. We find that this age effect remains significant even after controlling for other demographic variables (such as education). And none of the five non-demographic variables changes the age effect either (see the paper for the full data, analysis and modelling). The age effect appears to be real.

So in short, and contrary to the prevailing discourse, we do not find young people to be apathetic when it comes to online privacy. Barnes (2006) outlined the original ‘privacy paradox’ by arguing that “adults are concerned about invasion of privacy, while teens freely give up personal information (…) because often teens are not aware of the public nature of the Internet.” This may once have been true, but it is certainly not the case today.

Existing theories are unable to explain why young people are more likely to act to protect privacy, but maybe the answer lies in the broad, fundamental characteristics of social life. It is social structure that creates context: people know each other based around shared life stages, experiences and purposes. Every person is the centre of many social circles, and different circles have different norms for what is acceptable behaviour, and thus for what is made public or kept private. If we think of privacy as a sort of meta-norm that arises between groups rather than within groups, it provides a way to smooth out some of the inevitable conflicts of the varied contexts of modern social life.

This might help explain why young people are particularly concerned about their online privacy. At a time when they’re leaving their families and establishing their own identities, they will often be doing activities in one circle (e.g. friends) that they do not want known in other circles (e.g. potential employers or parents). As an individual enters the work force, starts to pay taxes, and develops friendships and relationships farther from the home, the number of social circles increases, increasing the potential for conflicting privacy norms. Of course, while privacy may still be a strong social norm, it may not be in the interest of the SNS provider to cater for its differentiated nature.

The real paradox is that these sites have become so embedded in the social lives of users that to maintain their social lives they must disclose information on them despite the fact that there is a significant privacy risk in disclosing this information; and often inadequate controls to help users to meet their diverse and complex privacy needs.

Read the full paper: Blank, G., Bolsover, G., and Dubois, E. (2014) A New Privacy Paradox: Young people and privacy on social network sites. Prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 16-19 August 2014, San Francisco, California.


Barnes, S. B. (2006). A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States. First Monday,11(9).

Marwick, A. E., Murgia-Diaz, D., & Palfrey, J. G. (2010). Youth, Privacy and Reputation (Literature Review). SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 1588163. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.

Marwick, A. E., & boyd, D. (2011). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media & Society, 13(1), 114–133. doi:10.1177/1461444810365313

Grant Blank is a Survey Research Fellow at the OII. He is a sociologist who studies the social and cultural impact of the Internet and other new communication media.

Young people in transition are particularly at risk of being both socially and digitally excluded

On 23 March 2012, the Oxford Internet Institute saw stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, attending our workshop ‘On the Periphery? Low and Discontinued Internet use by Young People in Britain: Drivers, Impacts and Policies’. One of the key themes that emerged over the course of the day was that digital inclusion cannot be addressed without tackling social exclusion, for many of those who are currently not online are also socially excluded.

The Government’s recent digital inclusion campaigns seem at first sight to recognise this need. For example, the UK ICT Strategy paper pledges that “The Government will work to make citizen-focused transactional services ‘digital by default’ where appropriate using Directgov as the single domain for citizens to access public services and government information. For those for whom digital channels are less accessible (for example, some older or disadvantaged people) the Government will enable a network of ‘assisted digital’ service providers, such as Post Offices, UK online centres and other local service providers” (§45, UK ICT Strategy 2011).

‘By default’ strategies are at the core of a concept called ‘libertarian paternalism’, which initially was advanced and popularised by two American academics, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, and since has been adopted by a number of governments around the world. In the UK, it has inspired the creation of the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insight Team, commonly known in Whitehall as the ‘Nudge Unit’.

The idea behind the libertarian paternalism concept is that the government gently encourages citizens to act in socially beneficial ways, without infringing their freedom or liberty, and through these nudges it improves economic welfare and well being for the whole of society. Governments nudge by reorganising the context in which citizens make certain decisions, a strategy also referred to as ‘choice architecture’. To quote a common example, it may not be at the forefront of learner drivers’ mind to sign up for the organ donor register, but by asking learner drivers whether they would like to join the register at the end of their application for a provisional driving licence, many learner drivers may choose to opt in. In other words, while the learner drivers are by default not enrolled as organ donors, they are gently ‘nudged’ by authorities to join the organ donors register and to help tackle the nationwide shortage of organ donations.

To apply libertarian paternalism to issues where citizens have the freedom to make a choice is sensible. Libertarian paternalism after all already has proven to be beneficial in a number of aspects of civic life. But by applying the concept to issues where citizens do not have a choice because of restricted resources, by default strategies risk becoming a tool for social exclusion. This poses a democratic problem.

This, our research suggests, is a current threat for young people who are high users of government services but infrequent users of the Internet.

The benefits of moving government services online are clear. Older citizens who do not go online often do not do so due to a range of factors, such as lack of skills, lack of interest or absence of an Internet connection. While these reasons are complex, there is often, at least to some extent, some element of a digital choice. Thus, for many people within this group, digital by default strategies that encourage citizens to use the government’s online services may work well. For example, through the provision of support at UK online centres and initiatives such as Go On Give an Hour in the context of the UK Race Online 2012 campaign.

However, for younger citizens, who have used the Internet at school and have grown up with the Internet as a part of normal life, not using the Internet or using the Internet in limited ways is more likely to be linked to issues such as the costs of going online. The majority of this group do not need to be nudged into using the Internet.

Preliminary findings of our ‘Lapsed Use of the Internet Amongst Young People in the UK’ project confirm this hypothesis. They suggest that particularly young people in transition often find it difficult to get access to the Internet. These are young people who just left school and don’t have Internet access at home, young people who are in transitory homes or homeless, young people who have just arrived in the UK as a refugee and young people who are working part-time only, or are unemployed and therefore cannot afford to access the Internet.

Sometimes the computers are full, so I go to the British library and can check my email and can see whether I have received something, because at the moment I am looking for jobs. If I am waiting for something important or if I have applied for a job … I have to keep checking my Internet and if I don’t have access to the Internet I really worry. [Alexandra, 20]

They actually cut the funding. And this is why places like the youth club here and Connexions that used to be open are no longer open, and the one-stop shop in L, all got their fundings cut, and they closed down. And, they, I’m surprised this place [youth club] is open, you know. But what can you do?  Nothing, you would have nothing. You would seriously have nothing… [Giorgio, 23]

Young people in transition are particularly at risk of being both socially and digitally excluded. Because of the restriction of their resources, accessing the Internet for them is not typically a matter of choice. This is why an ICT strategy based on choice architecture is not going to work for the majority of young people who are currently ex-users or non-users of the Internet. Instead, there is a danger that digital by default strategies doubly disadvantage those young people without Internet access, by aggravating and slowing down their enrolment process for government services and job programmes.

Therefore, strategies need to be developed that target young ex- and non-users of the Internet specifically, to ensure that these young people who are already part of an ‘Internet by default generation’ do not slip through the net, both technologically and socially.