As a parent, you may be concerned about the increasing presence of gambling in the lives of young people, whether it’s through advertising and promotion of the odds, media coverage, or online games. Positive portrayals of gambling, and being around adults who gamble, may make gambling seem like an everyday part of adult life.
Young people are especially vulnerable to gambling problems. Research shows that three to four percent of teenagers have problems with gambling – that’s one student in every high school class. Gambling problems can lead to depression, missing school and family disruption.
How to talk about gambling with your teen
- Encourage them to think critically about gambling and to make informed decisions. Telling them not to gamble probably won’t work.
- Approach the topic indirectly. Asking questions about whether they’ve seen gambling promotion can be a smooth way to introduce the subject, without making them defensive.
- Ask them questions when you see gambling advertising or venues. Questions like: “Do you know the odds of winning a jackpot on the pokies?” or “Do you know how much money is spent on sports betting advertising?” can be a tactful way to start a conversation. It also gives you an opportunity to share facts about the real chances of winning.