Teen online gambling addiction on the rise
Gambling has been blooming in the last decades, with the surge of Internet users and options. However, this growth has its dark sides. Nowadays, Online Gambling can become a danger to teenagers and their kin. Let’s delve deeper into the subject and explore the helpful resources we have identified over the years.
What is teenage gambling?
There is agreement among scholars that teenage/underage gambling reflects the age group of 12 to 18. However, severe cases are recorded with children of the age of 7 participating in one form of gambling.
In today's time, old forms of gambling like card games and lottery draws are followed by occurrences such as video game loot boxes And fantasy-sports events. Of course, one powerful aspect that affects everything negatively is the continuous aspect of online gaming. No matter if it’s 7 PM or 7 AM, as long as your online connection is steady, you can carry on playing.
Year-long research has proven that gambling can become a severe addiction if not handled thoughtfully and with care. Studies say that that it operates just like substance addiction.
It affects the reward circuits, parts of our neurological system, making our brains addicted to the feeling of winning and, reversely, wanting more when we lose.
Initially, researchers couldn't categorize problem gambling quite demonstrably. Still, the most recent DSM-5 Work Group has made a decision to integrate it in to Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders. This is backed up by scans showing the brain acting the same when excessive gambling and indulging in substance abuse.
Online gambling on specialized sites like casinos or social media platforms can be achieved without payments, with Tokens And “free games”. This liberalizes the act of gambling even further, and it exposes children and young adults to it much sooner than in-person activities.
Because it is difficult for them to discern the odds, kids may think that the winning streaks on “practice modes” will reflect real-money gambling. This is a strong factor on the path to problematic gambling behaviour.
BMC Psychiatry has also noticed a correlation between lower education levels or even school drop out and problem gambling.
Known consequences of teenage gambling
Both Australian and international scholars concerned with the issue have uncovered a series of consequences related to excessive gambling at a young age. These have a wide range and can fall into:
- Psychological issues;
- Social problems;
- Financial fallout.
Thus, the studies all come to more or less the same conclusions that individuals resume below so that you can get yourself a clear understanding of the general situations.
- Males are more inclined to gamble as compared to females, even at a young age.
- Students with lower school performance are more affected by the negative impacts of online gambling.
- Older teens are at risk in a higher capacity than younger teens.
The next table demonstrates that males face higher negative aspects on all three fronts than girls.
Psychologists and therapists agree to classify problem gambling as a continuum, meaning in lay terms that there are no “rough” or “good” spots until the problem is done.
Thus, it is vital for parents, teachers, and tutors to be highly aware of all the concerning factors. They can only intervene positively once they have most of the facts by their side. That is a phenomenon spawning over several countries, with teens anywhere between 0.8% and 6.0% categorized as such.
What games or activities do teens participate in?
Card playing still ranks higher among offline activities, followed closely by skill-based gaming and dares between friends. According to Derevensky and Gilbeau, after card playing, another most popular activities are sports bets, bingo games, and online bets, respectively.
What are the dangers related to excessive gameplay?
Teenagers can be affected emotionally, triggering depressive episodes And disinterest in social interaction and schoolwork. And since gambling addiction behaves exactly like substance addiction, these young folks are more inclined to smoke and drink.
The depressive episodes can stretch and worsen into feelings of deep anxiety and even suicidal thoughts.
Supporting factors of this problem
Why teens take part in gambling, sometimes even extremely, are similar to those who adults have. Initially, there is a driving force behind the thrill of competing online or offline against peers.
It might also be the case that, combined with the liberalization of gambling to people, teens look up to professional players and desire to mimic them. Lastly, we cannot get over the role that gambling may play as a coping mechanism.
How does that work?
Teens are faced with a lot of stress from all facets of their life, be it academic And Sports-related performances, to social areas like family and friends. Gambling may either simply take the toll off them using stressful situations or replenish feelings they lack.
The anxiety reducing nature of gambling, along with the way it incites the reward system, may produce a mix of factors that makes it much more desirable for long periods of time. In terms of international research can be involved, teens gamble for multiple reason.
How can you recognize a problem?
Just like any addiction, it starts with behavioural changes. If you see that your child, young family member, or a friend gets sulky more often and less communicative, it may be an early sign of the matter.
Another obvious sign is the challenge of recuperating most of the money lost in previous gambling sessions. Alternately, they may ask for more money than usual and borrow it from odd means.
In terms of school life, 1 out of 4 teens that gamble has also skipped classes to play more. Out of these truant students, 12% have also stolen money from their parents or guardians. These situations may also evolve into family issues.
In rare cases, excesses of any kind may be a kindling factor to delinquent behaviour. Thus, adolescents with problem gambling may be frequently seen associated with petty crimes.
How do game typologies change the scene?
The fact that most sites offer “free games” in practice mode or “free bonuses” makes gambling even more accessible, as it eliminates the paywall. That is one feature that facilitates gaming even more and a concern we usually do not simply take lightly. Some sites operate with “tokens” that act as virtual currency, and they can be exchanged for prizes or more games.
Since the problem is defined as a continuum, also associated with changing cognition and irrational behaviour, these free incentives are negative factors affecting the mental state of vulnerable young adults.
Understanding the risks
Like any addiction, internet gambling affects not merely the teen but also their family, friends, and general collective. This really is why education on the situation and its risks is vital.
The US Federal Trade Commission has caused it to be its mission to bring awareness to the matter; thus, we shall resume their points here. On the web gambling brings negative impacts; four of these found below:
- Offline and online gambling is illegal for minors;
- It integrates the risk of losing money and affecting your finances;
- It can create problems with your bank and your credit score;
- Any type of gaming can become addictive, with all the consequences already mentioned.
Prevention and help resources
Here is where we show you the most efficient strategies to prevent your teen from gambling excessively. These are followed by the best resources in Australia, tested by our team.
Prevention steps you should take
All the steps below involve a heavy dose of communication involving the family and the young adult involved with luck games. When there is any issue, you should reach out to trainers and therapists.
Explain gambling in simple terms
Your child needs guidance in all his/her activities, and a preamble where you explain the odds and risks involved with gambling could be a good idea to focus on. Ergo, before or at the beginning of their venture, you ought to lay out ground rules and explain the facts.
One important thing worth mentioning is the concept that the casino is, from the start, much more likely to win, since they are a business that needs to survive, so the player’s odds are lowered by default.
Limit their Internet usage
Even though we keep speaking about the dangers of on the web gambling, the net can become damaging to kids and young ones from a wide range of sources. Ergo, you are able to eradicate the problem of Internet gambling by setting your child’s screen time.
You are able to give an alternative solution to these activities by suggesting outdoor activities that increase your teen’s health insurance and stimulate their brain’s reward circuits.
Look for problematic signs
Suppose you see an adolescent exhibiting signs of odd behaviour, like extreme anti-social attitudes, moodiness, resilience to talk. In that case, you ought to investigate further into the matter. They are signs associated with risk gambling, but they may reflect other serious issues worth noting.
Invest in other family activities
You can’t wholly limit your child’s taste for gaming, but you can identify their preferences and skills and find another game type for them to thrive in. For example, if a child is innately good at statistics and strategies, they could excel in chess. If they seem more inclined to luck-based events, you can bring them to fairs and amusement parks and let them experience the thrill of chance there.
Solutions for the already existing problem
Researchers are in consensus that online teenage gambling can only be recognized and solved through community effort. Family, friends, caregivers, and role models all have to unite for a healthier environment, clear understanding, and better solutions.
Unfortunately,we have consulted several academic sources and concluded that underage gambling is a Australian and an international issue with a potentially problematic nature.
Marketing And social media have to be controlled enough for gambling to be severely limited for children. There should also be clear delimitation between sport events and betting on such.
What are the available resources if you are confronted with such a problem?
youthgambling.com – This is a research, prevention, and treatment clinic that has been established in 2001 in Montreal. The venture originally started as two passionate researchers were digging for the underlying causes that push teens to gamble. It is now an international centre in the domain.
Prevention lane – This Oregon-based centre has compiled a fantastic resource regarding youths’ online gambling, promoting healthier solutions and better attitudes for all involved. We recommend you give it a read!
ProblemGambling.ca – This is one of Australia’s most comprehensive sources, and they have hefty sections on youth gaming. They mostly rely on CBT therapies, which are the ones built to shift your ideas and actions for the better. Additionally they offer personalized treatment predicated on feedback and motivational therapies.
They have also put out a handbook designed especially for parents that want to take precautionary action. It focuses on two main age groups, below and over 18, with defined strategies and advice for all individuals involved.
youthbet.com – They are a program that develops educational resources about gambling awareness, which in the future will help you be wiser when making decisions and protecting your minors. Their policies are constructed through the approach of harm reduction, so they solve the matter by minimizing their negative impact.
All in all, the problem of internet teen gambling cannot be ignored, but it can be prevented, solved, and minimized through common effort and smart policies. Our team will be here to update you on the most recent solutions and moves in the domain.
- Internet gambling addiction is a looming crisis – The Hill
- Gambling Disorder to Be Included in Addictions Chapter – Psychiatric News
- Prevalence of Adolescent Problem Gambling: A Systematic Report on Recent Research – Accessed on Springer Link
- Problem gambling in adolescents: exactly what are the psychological, social and financial consequences? – BMC Psychiatry
- Adolescent Gambling: Twenty-five Years of Research – McGill University
- Gambling, Youth and the Internet: Should We Be Concerned? – Australian Academy of Son or daughter and Adolescent Psychiatry
- ADOLESCENT PROBLEM GAMBLING – A Prevention Guide for Parents – problemgambling.ca