Keeping you and your kids safer online is the aim of a free event covering online gaming and gambling being held as part of Gambling Harm Awareness Week.

The Safer Online panel discussion will be held virtually on Wednesday 21 October by Cafs and Moorabool Shire Council’s Youth Services, and will include three expert panellists including Cyber Safety Project founder and gaming expert Sam Macaulay.

Cafs CEO Wendy Sturgess said the online panel discussion will cover cyber safety and digital security, managing screen time, strategies for when gaming and gambling become a problem, and how to identify the signs that you’re getting hooked.

Ms Sturgess encouraged parents to attend with their children so they could learn how to take care of the whole family’s digital wellbeing.

“The discussion will also teach you some of the insider tactics that keep you playing or gambling, so it will be a really practical way to help you and your children stay safer online,” she said.

Other panellists will be Cafs Therapeutic Gambling Counsellor Saniya Goriawala and Moorabool Youth Resource Officer and Leading Senior Constable Jim Ross. The event is supported by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, which runs Gambling Harm Awareness Week.

The week runs from 19 to 25 October and aims to encourage the community to talk about the harms associated with gambling. Gambling harm can affect self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance and a person’s social life.

Ms Sturgess said gambling harm was often hidden and people felt uncomfortable talking about it.

“But talking is exactly what we need to do as a community to better understand it, break down stereotypes and misconceptions, and encourage those who are affected to seek support,” she said.

“If you are concerned about your gambling or gaming, or someone else's, talking about it is a good first step. Talking and listening without judgement signals that it’s okay for those affected by gambling harm to reach out, to share their personal experiences, and to seek recovery.”

To register for the Safer Online panel discussion event, visit the Cafs’ Facebook page facebook.com/cafs1865 and click on “events”.

If you or someone you know is experiencing harm from gambling, or the gambling of someone close to you is affecting your wellbeing, please call Cafs on 1300 MY CAFS (692 237) or 03 5337 3333 or email [email protected].