The number of children with gambling problems has quadrupled to over 50,000 in the past two years. Recent research has shown that these numbers are on the incline. The ease of access to devices which allow minors to gamble has increased with almost two-thirds having free access to the internet in their bedroom where monitoring can be trickier.
Matt Serlin, a Families Counsellor at Action on Addiction commented that gambling can be very traumatic, frightening and confusing for families. He went on to say that because a child has gambled is does not mean they are going to develop an addiction.
Here is some advice for parents and carers on spotting the warning signs of a child gambling:
- Unexplained absences from school/college
- Sudden deterioration in grades and/or failure to complete school work
- Unaccountable sudden new items of value in possession
- Lack of personal items of value
- Borrowing or stealing items of value and/or money
- Change/uncharacteristic shows of behaviour or personality
- Unusual interest in sports scores, newspapers, magazines, etc.
- Withdrawal from friends/family and social activities
What You Can Do To Support Your Child
- Show them you are open to talking about the subject
- Sit down and talk to them about gambling
- Give them the facts. Preferably before they are drawn into the games
- Increase awareness and understanding
- Offer a connection to those that have been through similar experiences
- Seek professional advice and support