Teenagers and gambling is a problem that is often overlooked by parents and teachers. There are many negative impacts that gambling can affect teenagers and the way they behave. These do not only affect the teenagers but their family, friends and peers around them as well. Age limits on gambling are not enough to deter teenagers from finding other ways of gambling. There are all sorts of gambling methods
As you know, there is a minimum age requirement to gamble but the majority of teenagers are still able to find places to gamble and place bets. They may not be able to get into a casino but they are able to participate in lottery tickets, scratch and win cards, betting on sports game outcomes, and even internet gambling.
Jared Age 17 Wanted to be Cool
Jared age 17 stated in a session “I was attracted to gambling because it seemed fun and exciting. I also thought I would be able to win lots of money! All of my friends thought it was cool to gamble so I thought it was cool as well.” Jared did not view gambling as something harmful like they would with drug addiction or alcohol. Part of that reason is because there are fewer programs that educate teens about gambling and gambling addiction. Jared stated “My parents leave their credit card on the counter sometimes which is how I was able to gamble online. As long as I win the money back that I use from them, they won’t notice!” Jared was uneducated about the risk of never winning back what you bet. If you are a social worker, MFT, or addictions counselor and need CEUs check out our addictions courses on onlineceucredit.com/online-ceus-addictions.php
Andy’s Parents lack of concern
Many parents do not pay as much attention to teen gambling as they would with drugs or drinking. It is often overlooked as something that is not an immediate concern. Children may see other family members gambling and receive the impression that it is harmless. This was apparent in a situation with my client, Andy age 15 who had started off playing card games with his friends after school. Andy stated “It was just fun at first I suggested we bet money because that’s how the adults do it. After that, we always bet money. I would skip lunch so I could use the money to bet. I started to lose more often and I became a bully and took money from other kids so I would have enough.” Andy was caught gambling after he showed signs of aggression with another student due to a gambling bet. His parents had no idea he had a gambling problem until he was caught. As you know, children often look up to adults so when they see family members betting money or gambling, they may imitate the behavior.
Lori’s School Work Suffered due to Teen Gambling
Due to the teen gambling, Andy became aggressive and stole money from other students. These are only a few of the many negative side effects that can come from teen gambling. Some other effects include the lack of attention in school and also lack of interest in any other activities. The parent of a student Lori who was age 19 expressed her frustration “Lori used to be such a great student, she used to achieve good grades and she was also a part of the school’s volleyball team but recently, she always goes over to a friend’s house to play poker. Her grades have dropped significantly and she won’t even talk to me about it. Her volleyball coach also came to me and expressed concern over Lori due to recent absences. It is like all of her attention is being sucked away by poker!” Lori did not become violent or aggressive like Andy but she lost interest in other interests she had and her school performance dropped significantly as well.
Age limits don’t work
There may be an age limit on gambling but that doesn’t stop teens from finding other ways to gamble. There are 30-40% of students across the United States that have tried and participated in some form of gambling.
What do you think?
Do you have a Jared, Andy or Lori that you have treated or are currently treating? I’d love to hear about a client you are treating for gambling. If you need continuing education credits for your license renewal, check out our facebook page to get a 20% discount code. This code entitles you to an additional 20% off CEU courses