The regulator says talking to “tweens” about responsible gaming can help avoid problems at a later age.
US.- The Michigan Gaming Control Board has suggested that the “tween” years are a good time to teach children about responsible gaming. It said that seven out of 10 students aged 14 to 19 will wager money on poker and other games this year.
Henry Williams, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said: “Parents should discuss responsible gaming with their children before they attend high school. National studies have shown young people gamble in betting pools, while on the basketball court sidelines and on video games or even try to do so online or at a casino.
“As a parent and a former social worker, I know how important it is for parents to look for signs of problem behaviors and to take an active role in educating children to understand consequences of their behavior.”
The board also suggested parents use parental controls on electronic devices. “It’s also wise to prevent possible misuse by not leaving stored credit card and personal ID information on devices shared by younger family members or in other places where young people can have easy access to it,” Williams said.
Studies show from 2 to 7 per cent of young people experience a gambling problem, according to the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG). It estimates that 6 to 15 per cent have gambling problems that are less severe. The ICRG says the rate has remained fairly steady in the past 25 years.
ICRG suggests 10 steps to help youth avoid risky behaviour:
- Start early: children often begin gambling during elementary school.
- Listen: create an open environment for questions.
- Educate yourself and children about gambling.
- Discuss: talk about the realities of chance.
- Know normal behaviours.
- Set rules
- Monitor activities: stay involved without making children feel controlled. Keep credit cards, ID and internet accounts secure to prevent children from using them without permission.
- Ask teachers to include probability and randomness in math classes and teachers and counsellors to monitor for students playing cards and other games for money at school.
- Help children develop coping skills.
- Understand the role of the family – if family members have a gambling problem, children are at increased risk.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services maintains a 24-hour helpline, 1-800-270-7117.