2 years ago
According to the shocking Young People and Gambling 2017 Report, 25,000 UK teens aged between 11 - 16 are problem gamblers. Computer games and social media become the entry point into the world of gambling for many British youths. The statistics collected in December 2017 suggest that approximately 370,000 (12%) children in England, Scotland, and Wales have gambled within the week preceding the data collection.
In the light of such disturbing news, immediate action has to be taken by the UK Department of Education. The school curriculum typically includes classes about the dangers of risky behaviours including alcohol, drugs, and sex. However, nothing is mentioned about gambling addiction.
Lessons About the Dangers of Gambling
A series of four pilot lessons initiated by Demos were held across the UK reaching 650 students. The pilot lessons are meant to teach the UK kids not only about the risks of gambling but also about places to go for help and support. It is important to teach students how to identify manipulative behavior by gambling companies, as well as help other teens experiencing gambling addiction.
Teenage gambling addiction takes a variety of forms. Out of 650 students who sat in the lessons, 41% have confirmed participating in gambling activities within the last year. 21% used money to place bets, 17% were playing fruit machines, and 14% were playing cards for money.
Prior to the launch of the lesson pilot, there has been a 12-month test period. During this time, Demos have registered a significant drop in the percentage of students who played cards for money. There has also been a net decline of 7 percentage points in relation to a comparison group.
Based on such promising results, Demos are now urging the UK Government to include lessons about the dangers of gambling addiction into the school curriculum. Currently, the inclusion of this subject as part of PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) education is under review. The educational initiative is co-funded together with GambleAware, an independent charity involved in minimizing gambling-related harm in the UK.
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