Today's generation of children and adolescents face a unique and concerning environment regarding gambling. They are growing up in a digital age characterised by constant connectivity, where the gambling industry has evolved significantly during their formative years. With smartphones and social media platforms at their fingertips, the line between gambling and entertainment has blurred, particularly within the realms of video games and social media.
Even with legal restrictions in place, a considerable number of teenagers are engaging in online gambling, a trend facilitated by the industry's normalisation of betting practices on the internet. Research consistently highlights that a significant percentage of adolescents are involved in gambling activities, and some experience adverse consequences such as diminished academic performance and strained relationships.
The digital era has made gambling more accessible, and certain factors elevate the risk of problematic gambling among young individuals, particularly those who already engage in risky behaviours like alcohol consumption. Simulated gambling in video games can further increase the likelihood of teenagers transitioning to real-money gambling and developing future gambling-related problems.
To navigate children through responsible online gaming and gambling, it's imperative for parents and caregivers to foster open discussions about media choices. Encouraging a balanced approach to screen time, promoting alternative activities for stress relief and boredom, and setting clear family rules for screen and internet use, including establishing spending limits for online gambling and in-game purchases, can empower children to make informed and responsible decisions in this digital age.
For support services and more information go to:
- Gambling Help Online: Free online support for anyone affected by gambling. Available 24/7 across Australia.
- SMART Recovery: SMART Recovery is an evidence-based recovery method grounded in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), that supports people with substance dependencies or problem behaviours.