The gambling rate among teenagers is significantly increasing, which experts say could lead to complications later in their lives, a Canadian study has revealed.
According to researchers from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Waterloo, almost 10 percent of teens from three surveyed provinces gambled for the past three months. This is the first study in Canada that had found such increase of online gambling seen among teens.
The study surveyed 10,035 teens in the provinces of Ontario, Newfoundland, and Labrador, Saskatchewan. The data was gathered through the 2012-2013 Youth Gambling Survey (YGS) supplement that was given to participants of grades 9 to 12 and who are between the ages of 13 and 19.
The researchers found out that 42 percent of the surveyed adolescents gambled for money or bet something valuable in both land-based offline gambling venues or online gambling.
The study also showed that these teenagers gambled different ways. For example, they took on a challenge or a dare 22 percent of the time, had instant-win or scratch tickets at 14 percent, played games of skill like darts or pool at 12 percent, while both offline sports and actual card games were done by teens about 9 percent of the time.
The surveyed adolescents also participated in simulated online gambling, which includes Internet gambling and gambling on Facebook.
"A substantially high proportion of young people are gambling in general, and mostly in unregulated forms, like in a dare or a game of pool, which are accessible to youth," said Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall, one of the study authors and a scientist from the Social and Epidemiological Research at CAMH.
Experts say that it is alarming to have a significant increase among teenager gambling.
"The high proportion of teens who are gambling in any form is concerning because there is research to suggest that the earlier people start to gamble, the more likely it is to be an issue later on," Elton-Marshall added.
The study, which was the first to apply problem gambling scale, found that there is a reason for concern. Among the participant, 36 percent of those who gamble online and 8 percent of those offline have the potential to face gambling problems.
Elton-Marshall also added that online gambling of young people is a way for them to search and build on experience, which can eventually place them in a higher risk for problems associated with the vice.
How Should Parents Address The Problem
Parents must be knowledgeable on the effects of gambling and must try to get involved in their children's activities. Talking to teens and telling the consequences of their actions presently and in the future, could make them understand and avoid gambling altogether.
It is also best to replace gambling activities at home with better and friendly games that can help cognitive and social development within your family.
Parents should also lead an example by not getting involved in any gambling modes. A father who gambles will most likely have a son who gambles, too.
Online materials such as computers and laptops can be placed in common areas so that parents can monitor their teen's activities.