The most common kind of gambling among teenagers and children are typically card games, lottery tickets etc. 60% to 80% of high students are said to have gambled and about. Teenagers and children are at a larger risk of being addicted to gambling than adults,mainly because the part that has the ability to evaluate risk and handle loss has not developed.
The legal age for betting is usually 18, but some children indulge in gambling as early as age 10. Factors like the internet, TV tend to increase the risk of exposure of gambling to children and teenagers.
Smartphones provide the opportunity for underage to gamble on apps, video games without the need for money. Some gamble on betting sites with accounts of older people.
Since sports and sport gambling is now a part of everyday life, children and teenagers perceive betting as a fun, exciting social activity and an easy way to make money.
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How to spot Teenage gambling problem
It can be difficult to detect gambling addiction in teenagers since they don’t run into financial problems like adults.
Some of the signs below can indicate gambling problems.
- Withdrawal from friends, family, social activities and events.
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Tiredness, low energy.
- Irritability when away from gambling
- Denial of gambling problem
- Low performance in school.
Risk associated with teen gambling
- Mental health issues
Gambling can lead to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem, a teen with pre-existing mental issues is prone to developing gambling addiction. They use gambling as a coping mechanism for depression, anxiety and stress.
Financial problems and stress that comes with gambling can cause decline in mental health.
- Substance abuse
Gambling can influence teenagers to try drugs to give a rush of adrenaline, they can easily get hooked on the high they get from gambling and drugs and go out of control.
- Increased risk of developing gambling addiction
Research shows children introduced to gambling at age 2 are more likely to develop gambling problems, teenagers are more susceptible to gambling addiction than adults.
They are more impulsive and less reasonable decisions.
Prevention of Teenage gambling
- Educate them about gambling
Explain how gambling works, especially the likelihood of winning can be very helpful, especially in a way children can understand, like comparing the chances of winning to other chances in life.
Gambling as an entertainment is not entirely but, but it should be done responsibly. Education about gambling will help them make well-informed decisions that can prevent betting problems.
- Monitor them
With their smartphones, they have access to betting ads on social media and other websites, gambling can be in the form of video games particularly those that require in-game purchases.
If you notice your child spending money on games and better sites, talk to them about quitting it.
- Seek professional help
Gambling can spiral out of control and have life-long consequences. It is advisable to seek professional help quickly if you notice their spending is getting out of control.
If you suspect your kid is gambling, speak with experts on how to handle the situation as it can lead to mental health issues.