Teenage gambling is becoming more and more of a problem with each passing year. Teenagers can gamble on video games with their friends, gamble online, and engage in poker games with friends. This problem is deepening as more and more teenagers engage in gambling in one form or another.
Studies have shown that gambling in teenagers is on the rise and that it does not seem to be slowing down. The glamorizing of poker games by celebrities on television has had a negative impact on teenagers.
These teens believe that gambling is the road to easy money and huge sums of cash. They believe gambling to be an exciting dreamworld that they want to soon become part of.
Gambling addiction can occur very easily in these teens because of the adrenaline high that happens while engaging in a gambling activity. Studies have also shown that teens can become addicted very fast, and that it is much harder to break the gambling addiction habit when starting at such a young age.
The effects of a teen gambling problem are as follows:
1. Cutting school, and having unexplained absences.
2. Poor grades that become worse and worse
3. Money problems and stealing money from parents.
4. Constantly needing money for poorly explained reasons.
5. Preoccupation with gambling and social isolation, except with gambling friends.
6. Engaging in forms of illegal behavior.
7. Use of drugs and alcohol.
8. Unexplained mood changes.
9. Poor sleep habits and hygiene.
So what do parents do when they suspect that their teenager has a gambling problem or gambling addiction? Because every situation is different, there is no “one size fits all answer”. However, there are a few things that you can do.
1. Insist that your teenager visits a counselor or therapist. A specialist in gambling addiction will be your best bet. Your first session will be known as an intervention.
2. Make sure that your teenager has no access to cash or credit cards and keep your cash and credit cards locked up so your teen has no access to this.
3. You teen will most likely not admit that he or she has a gambling problem or gambling addiction. This does not matter at the beginning, however. You are the parent and you can decide the intervention.
4. Insist that your teenager attend a Gamblers Anonymous or other 12 Step Group. You can attend a Gamanon meeting which is usually next door to the Gamblers Anonymous Meeting.