Parents Ignore Underage Gambling Risks
24/02/2010, Online casinos

According to a study carried out by the researchers from McGill University and DECODE, an organization which examines youth issues, parents do not think underage gambling is a cause for their concern.

The study was made on 2,700 Canadian parents and it revealed that most of them do not completely understand the danger of the growing trend of teenage gambling.

“Canada is a world leader in researching and understanding gambling behaviors and this study looking at parents of teens is a global first. However, while there are some resources on youth gambling currently available for parents, and other resources being developed, this is still an emerging area," said Dr. Jeff Derevensky, Co-Director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University.

Gambling has “become clearly normalized” lately. 18 million people – many of whom are youth – subscribe to the popular Texas Hold'Em poker application on Facebook, for example.

“Parents should be made more aware of the rapid growth of the underage gambling activities, including on social networking sites like Facebook”, says Eric Meerkamper, President of DECODE, the youth-focused strategy firm which collaborated on the study.
“Encouraging parents to speak with their children about gambling is particularly important since unregulated online opportunities for youth gambling are growing at a phenomenal rate,” he added.

The researchers found gambling was placed well behind drug use (87 per cent), alcohol (82 per cent), sex (81 per cent), as well as obesity (66 per cent), negative body image (64 per cent) or excessive video game playing (64 per cent).

“Gambling for youth, as a social issue, doesn't really sit on the parents' radar," said Eric Meerkamper, DECODE's president, in a teleconference.

Dr. Jeff Derevensky said that four percent of adolescents are serious problem gamblers, but the consequences often remain undetected because teenagers cannot lose their houses, as they still live with their parents, they cannot lose their wives or husbands, because they are not married yet, etc.
But the implications can be disastrous for their future.

Most of the kids are familiar with gambling. The study's respondents declared they have bought lottery tickets for their underage children as gifts at least once.
However, 95 percent of parents think they are responsible for the prevention of underage gambling and they said they would be able to have productive discussions about the subject with their children.

Some of the signs which can betray underage gambling problems include:
* Showing off or hiding large sums of money;
* Borrowing money from friends and family members;
* Unexplained spending;
* Mood swings;
* Secretiveness;
* Lying;
* Increasing amounts of time spent in gambling-related activities.

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