What is Nick’s Pick Play?
Recently, the NFL and Nickelodeon have teamed up to offer some special deals targeted at kids. The first is a wildcard game being streamed on Nickelodeon that will have things such as slime, and googly eye overlays, targeted ads, and more to create a spectacle more fit for younger kids. This part of the deal seems like a great idea and really has no negative implications.
Where some may take issue is the partnering website launched by the NFL and Nick called NFL Nick Play. On this website, there are some harmless bits like little quizzes on the different positions in football, information on how those positions work, and how the game plays out. This is great, and there is nothing wrong with educating youth about the NFL. Parents can choose whether or not they want football to be a part of a child’s life.
However, where many people have concerns regarding the site is the picking portion of the website. Not only is Nick letting kids select their pick on the game of the week, but it offers printable pick’ems for children. On its own, having kids select who they think is going to win seems a bit harmless, though there could be an argument that it is ingraining betting habits at a young age. However, the fact that Nick and the NFL have created a targeted printable pick’em sheets for children is a massive issue.
Is NFL Nick Play Appropriate?
At worst, this is an awful attempt at getting children used to the format in which sports betting takes place and trying to introduce this element of sports wagering at an extremely young age. At best, this was a poorly thought out idea for a party game.
One way in which this does seem like a purposeful attempt to get kids introduced to selecting winners and sports betting is the fact that the printable pick‘ems consistently pop up when scrolling. Each section has one block, but the printable pick’ems seemingly are advertised after each section. If this was just a fun idea, why treat it like a promotional ad instead of a normal section like the rest of the site?
There is no issue with adults having the choice to bet. However, when you target sports betting elements at children, there becomes a massive issue. There is a reason the legal betting age in most states is not even 18, but 21. America has agreed that only fully developed adults should be betting on sports. To allow children to select winners and target them with a pick’em sheet seems like opening the door to something extremely problematic that they do not fully understand. Again, it does not help that the pick’em sheet pops up over and over in an almost maniacal way.
Yes, parts of the site are harmless and educational and are fine to allow children to peruse. However, it is this obvious sports betting angle that this site has taken, again targeted for children that watch Nickelodeon, that leaves many with a feeling of discomfort. Leave pick’ems and sports betting to the adults. Allow this site to be for kids wanting to know the game. You can even have sections where they vote for their favorite players or even a section where you could “root” for a team. However, to straight-up ask kids to choose a winner with a reward-type system where you get points for clicking and then offer a pick’em sheet is simply in poor taste.