Most responsible parents will go to extremes to protect their children from the dangers of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol and invest in a great deal of effort prescribing safe sex, yet often choose to view their teenager’s preoccupation with gambling, especially on the internet, with mild concern; sometimes neglecting seeking a solution until it is too late.
The teen gambling problem is taking a worrying foothold, especially on the internet. Technically under 18’s are not legally permitted to gamble, on the internet or anywhere else. However, online permissions are summarily obtained and most teenagers have experimented with gambling well below the age of majority.
In a few extreme cases, teenage gambling has begun innocently enough with learning to play poker online and within a few days an incredible $20,000 – $30,000 debt has been incurred. The fear, anxiety and long term damage caused by such an experience can affect a family for many years. Even more tragic, the risk of such an intense encounter with gambling could have been limited or even totally prevented by gambling blocking software so that gambling sites were eliminated from a teenager’s online access.
Pathological gambling is centred round the player’s confidence to be able to ‘recover his losses’. A small loss is pursued in an effort to regain ground and as the debt escalates, the certain knowledge that one more spin or one more hand will fix the damage leads the player into spiralling financial difficulties. For teenagers, online poker, sports betting and online casinos are all particular attractions and now it is estimated that there are more teenage gambling addicts than adults.
Your teenager might be too young to gain entry to a conventional casino, but there is nothing to bar the entrance to online casinos and to an online establishment that is every bit as addictive or perhaps even more so, due to the ease of access. There is no need to drive there; there is no dress code required and all involvement is easily kept secret from parental interest. The online teenage gambling environment is invasive, coercive and dangerous.
A teen gambling problem necessarily implicates the victim in all kinds of subterfuge, both to hide the addiction and also to finance it. Often personal relationships with family and friends are sacrificed to guarantee the kind of privacy required to completely shroud the problem and often the teenager will resort to borrowing large amounts of money, sometimes from friends but often from loan sharks, to sponsor the growing addiction. Cut your losses by investing in a web filter to block gambling sites from your teenager’s online environment.