Problem Gambling, Youth and the Internet

Gambling has become popular recreational activity and constantly growing at an unprecedented rate over the last few years. Everybody has their reasons to gamble. Most people gamble to win money, to socialize, for excitement, or to pass time. 

There are many different ways to gamble which include lottery tickets, casino games, betting on horse racing, sports betting, slot machines, internet gambling, bingo, and many others.

For some people, gambling has serious effects and creates problems in their lives. Now, as there are more options available to access gambling, the number of people affected by gambling problems is also increasing.

Gambling addiction is a progressive addiction that can have many harmful psychological, physical, and social consequences. The negative effects of gambling are not just about losing money, it can seriously affect relationships, physical and mental health, financial situation, self-esteem, work performance, and social life as well. 


What Is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling is about behavior that is creating troubles in your life or the life of people closely associated with you like parents, siblings, and friends. If your gambling addiction is causing you to miss your school or work, making you worried about the money you have lost or you are having arguments with your family or friends, in such situations gambling is a problem for you.

The Effect of Gambling on Youth

Widespread gambling opportunities and their amplified promotion have preoccupied numerous young players around the world. The impelling cause behind these inclinations is online technology and almost universal access to the internet. It has made gambling more welcoming and offers an on-demand and virtual experience.

Gambling and gambling-like activities or experiences are so widespread that young people consider them part of everyday life. With the acceptance and spread of gambling in society, gambling advertisements have become gradually prominent. Gambling ads send the message that gambling is fun, exciting, and a quick and easy way to get rich. Particularly youth seems to be more vulnerable to the effects of advertising. 

Teenagers think of gambling as a social activity as online gambling activities use chat and messaging features to encourage playing with friends. It is designed in a way to attract more players as they win a lot in practice mode. Players might believe that this winning streak will keep going even when they play with real money. 

Spotting Teenage Gambling Problems

It is not easy to tell when children have gambling problems but if you are concerned that your teen is gambling, be alert for:

Money Problems

Unexpected changes about the money your child has, or your child often short of money, or your child borrowing or taking money from friends or family.

Physical Changes

changes in sleep patterns, being tired or run down, low energy levels, mood changes, eating less, problems focusing on or remembering things.

School Problems

Not showing interest in school activities, falling grades, and attendance or behavioral issues at school.

Problems in Relationships

Not participating in social activities, events, and problems in relationships with family and friends.

Emotional & Behavioral Issues

If children have often mood swings, depression, anxiety, short-tempered, easily annoyed, simply stressed, started consuming alcohol or using drugs. 

Positive Attitude Towards Gambling

Shows interest in internet gambling sites, obsessed with video arcades, eager to know about sports results or TV poker.

If someone near you or in your family is showing such behavior, it is important not to ignore such symptoms. Learn more how to protect your loved one from gambling problems. 

Online Gambling Risks

As mentioned above, a gambler has easy access to an online gambling site and he can play gambling at any time. It is tough for others to notice that the person is gambling online regularly while on the other hand, it is easy to get noticed if someone is frequently visiting the casino.

Due to easy access to online gambling sites, it is more addictive than traditional gambling. A habitual gambler has more chances to cut back on gambling by avoiding the casino. However, it is more difficult for the online gambler to avoid as he has easy access to online gambling sites.

It is always easy to gamble without getting noticed as the internet is also used for other tasks at work, communication with friends and family, or using social media. In today’s world, it’s really difficult to avoid a smartphone or computer. So it is really difficult for a person to avoid online gambling as compared to traditional casinos.

Nowadays it is easy to access bank accounts online and transfer payments to any account. Users can easily transfer from their bank account to an online gambling site.

Another risk associated with online gambling is that in many countries gambling is not allowed by law while the countries which allow it are not even well-regulated. It is difficult to know about the actual owner of the gambling business and there are many cases where the gambler is cheated out of money either in betting or in winning. 

Preventing Teenage Gambling Problems

Gambling casinos have their traditional style but digital gambling has significantly changed the overall scenario of gambling. It is now available in multiple forms, often hidden from the public and not always considered as gambling.

It is important to educate young people about the risks of gambling and protect the vulnerable from gambling-related harms. To discourage the young generation from online gambling, it is crucial to use a multi-level approach to educate them and to create awareness about the problems related to gambling.

At schools, seminars should be conducted to create awareness and to educate them about the risks and harm of online gambling. Children should be taught about the danger of losing and building up significant debts because of childhood gambling problems. This is one of the most important steps to educate them and stop participating in such online activities. 

Schools should arrange beneficial plays for students to learn morals; the plays may be related to the harm and effects of gambling to discourage this habit of youth.

Explain How Gambling Works

Children in school are generally ready to learn about gambling. It will be helpful if we explain them the odds of winning in a way that your child can easily understand. You can explain them that these online gambling companies are operated in a way that they always make more money than they payout to you. There are always more chances of losing as compared to winning. 

Encourage Extracurricular Activities

To overcome educational, social, or mental health problems, youngsters might be able to head off unhealthy activities like gambling. For some having a tough time at home or school, gambling can be a fun but unhelpful way to cope with stress or other similar problems.

It is important to engage them at school with other extracurricular activities and encourage them to take participate to reduce stress. Arts, music and sports are good examples to keep them busy and help them to feel good and have fun.

Positive Family Attitude

Parents are the key persons to influence the kids. A family’s attitude towards gambling can affect the child’s behavior and is one of the major reasons for his inclination towards gambling. The less your child is exposed to gambling, the less likely he is to develop a problem.  

If a person in the family gambles regularly, children might see gambling as normal behavior and most kids like to copy their elders or what they see their parents are doing. Parents who gamble regularly like playing poker machines, betting on sports or races send messages to their children about gambling being a normal way to have fun or make money.

Always try to avoid such activities in their presence and educate them about the negative impacts of gambling. Always encourage family bonding and spend healthy time with your kids to keep them engage with positive energy.

Track Credit Cards Payments

Keep track of the use of credit cards for online activities. Always ask and discuss if you find any shaky transactions on the credit cards. It can help your child understand and accept family rules. If you find such credit card activity, set limits on credit cards to reduce the usage of credit cards in games or gambling.

Discuss and Introduce Internet Usage Rules 

You could talk with your child about video games with gambling themes and content and why you’d prefer he didn’t play them. Discuss them with logic and help them to get out of this. Introduce some internet usage rules in the house, it will also help to limit his access to online gambling activities.

Anyone who is directly involved with young people can build awareness and support a healthier lifestyle by addressing gambling-related harms. Similarly, education and prevention initiatives that help in decision-making and critical thinking skills can play a key role in developing the ability to make informed choices about gambling.

Gambling ruined my life, and I was not the only one to suffer. There are hundreds of such people out there who have gone through the same trouble. My mission is to help them share their story so that they may get help in time. 

Visit my website, and share your story of recovery and be the motivation for thousands who fell prey to this addiction.

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