Approximately 450,000 children from eleven and fifteen years of age bet real money at least once per week. This information was published by the UK Gambling Commission in late 2016. According to its report, about nine thousand teenagers from among the respondents have obvious signs of gambling addiction.
According to international organizations that deal with problem gambling, addiction of children to gambling becomes a dangerous trend all over the world.
We firmly believe that such phenomenon is absolutely unacceptable and try to contribute to the struggle against gambling among teenagers. This article of the Casinoz portal initiates a series of publications about gambling addiction among children. We will discuss all aspects of this problem and provide useful tips on how to counteract it.
Gambling is not intended for children. Let's fight against this serious problem together.
What Is the Problem?
To be sure, the list of our readers includes customers of online casinos, fans of poker or sports who will say: "There is no problem in gambling!" Many of them will recall how they used to play cards, dice, coins and other games in their childhood making small bets. Now it seems to them that such entertainment is harmless and poses no threat.
Are you sure that none of your partners with whom you used to gamble have gambling-related problems?
It seems difficult even for adults to assess the gambling-associated risks properly. And the child's mind is simply unable to realize how dangerous such entertainment is.
Teens tend to be too fascinated by interesting activities. Having become a victim of gambling addiction, they leave school, conflict with adults, quarrel with friends and even commit crimes to get money to keep gambling.
We hope you agree that it is necessary to get rid of such problems.
How Children Enter the World of Gambling?
Modern children learn about gambling very early. We want to enumerate several possible sources of information:
- Advertisement of poker tournaments,
- Signs of gambling houses,
- Stories of friends about sports betting,
- Information about casinos available in pirated movies,
- Offers of free spins and bonuses on gambling sites,
- Kiosks with scratch cards;
- TV lotteries;
- Parents who play cards;
- Gambling in schools;
- Gambling-like entertainment for children in shopping malls.
Computer games where you can buy something for real money are also worth mentioning. The opportunity to "upgrade" a character or reach a higher level faster is as attractive as slots.
Why children start gambling? Participants of the survey identified three main reasons:
- They want to earn money;
- They want to amuse themselves;
- They try to find new types of entertainment.
You should pay your attention to all the causes mentioned above if you want to prevent your children from becoming a victim of gambling addiction.
Is It Time to Beat the Alarm?
Don't deceive yourself thinking that your child is too young to be interested in gambling. Gambling enters the world of children imperceptibly and often does not cause fear even among adults. Since the preschool age, everyone knows that drugs, tobacco smoking, and alcohol are harmful. However games of chance with coins or instant lotteries seem to be quite harmless. As a result, we have faced shocking consequences:
- 43% of pupils in middle school gambled last year.
- There are also other facts of the involvement of teenagers in gambling:
- Researches carried out all over the world have revealed that the first signs of gambling addiction emerge starting from 10 years of age.
- According to statistics collected by the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, teenagers play online games of chance three times more often compared to adults.
- Youth mainly prefer instant lotteries, different types of betting, and poker.
Involvement of parents in gambling significantly increases the probability of such hobby in children. Try to show your children good examples.
How to Notice a Problem?
It can be extremely difficult to notice signs of problem gambling in children, especially in the early stages. Teenagers do not face significant financial problems, which can lead to serious difficulties in life. They usually lose pocket money and sometimes borrow small amounts from their friends.
However if you fail to reveal the signs of gambling addiction among teenagers in the early stages, it can lead to a real disaster. We recommend that you should pay attention to the following changes in the behavior of children:
- Sharp fluctuations in the child's financial capabilities: unexpectedly huge sums of money, inexplicable acquisitions, and attempts to borrow money from friends.
- Poor school performance.
- Quarrels with friends and classmates.
- Loss of interest in sports and hobbies.
- He or she pays too much attention to the outcome of sporting events. The following changes in behavior are observed: restless sleep, mood fluctuations, apathy, irritability, etc.
- A child does not want to talk about gambling.
The aforementioned signs may indicate other problems not related to gambling in the life of children. Anyway, parents should pay attention to such changes and try to find out the reason for their appearance.
How to Cope with Juvenile Problem Gambling?
First of all, it is necessary to talk with your child. You should not take decisive actions and punish him or her severely. Children often believe that gambling is harmless and underestimate its danger.
Explain the gambling-associated risks. Tell him or her about the possible consequences. The real stories of your friends may help.
Even if your child believes that he or she has realized the problem, it is necessary to keep your eye on him or her. Children are reticent and know how to keep secrets.
If you cannot solve the problem, you should contact a psychologist specializing in gambling addiction.
How to Prevent the Emergence of Problem Gambling?
It is better to prevent any problem than to deal with its consequences. The following recommendations will help our readers to avoid troubles:
- Be a good example for your child. The child should not see how you gamble at casinos, make bets, participate in poker competitions, or purchase lottery tickets.
- Don't attend establishments whose visitors gamble.
- Explain the principles of gambling. Do not allow teenagers to believe that there are some winning systems and tell them about other gambling-related myths. Let your child become familiar with the odds of winning when playing lotteries and other nuances of gambling.
- Try to notice the possible signs of gambling in your child.
- Monitor and restrict the access of your child to the Internet. If necessary, use the Internet restriction apps.
Even if you constantly gamble at casinos, are fond of poker, participate in lotteries or regularly make bets, you should do your best to protect your children from gambling.
Gambling should be treated responsibly, taking into account its numerous risks. The child's psyche is not able to cope with them.
In our future articles we will discuss in detail various issues related to the development of problem gambling in adolescents. Follow the updates, share your personal stories and offers, and feel free to ask questions.