Teens That Gamble

Gambling among teens has been a growing problem over the last decade. However, many are not aware or are not paying close enough attention to teen gambling. Studies show that the long term affects of gambling can be just as dangerous and debilitating as an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.

Internet Gambling

Teens that gamble usually start out as a game of poker with other teens their age. They may not even bet money at first. However, often they will begin betting and gambling so often that it becomes a regular activity and it begins to take place almost daily. This is especially true in the very popular internet gambling activity. Gambling on the internet is far less regulated and it allows teens to gamble from the comfort of their homes on their personal computer, usually without their parents knowing about it. With the ability to gamble from home they dont have to travel long distances to regular casinos and worry about obtaining and passing fake identification. It is also much easier to lose track of how much money they have lost when gambling on the internet as opposed to in person at the casinos.

A Downward Spiral

Many times teens will become so addicted to gambling that they will begin to steal from their parents, friends, and in some cases will begin illegal activity to generate the money they need to gamble. They may being to burglarize in the community or begin to sell illegal substances. In short, a gambling addiction can lead to serious legal consequences that can affect the rest of their lives and even carry over to adulthood. This most definitely will limit their opportunities in the future.

Parents Can Help

So how can parents help stop teen gambling? Much the same way they can stop their teens from participating in other illegal activities. Being aware of the activities their teen is involved in is key. Some parents may say, My teen wouldn’t be involved in such things only to find out that their teen is, in fact, heavily involved in such risky behaviors as teen gambling. Maintaining open communication with teens and talking to them about the dangers and risks associated with gambling is vital.

Explain to them that an addiction to gambling is in many ways no different from an addiction to drugs, alcohol, and pornography. All will have lasting and damaging effects if not stopped and treated by a professional with experience in helping teens with addictions. It is critical that family and friends be aware and supportive to teens that are suffering from any form of addiction. The support of loved ones often can be the difference between success and failure as teens try and change their lives.