The number of children with gambling problems has quadrupled to over 50,000 in the past two years. Recent research carried out has shown that these numbers are on the incline and the ease of access to gambling for minors has increased the chances of addiction.
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 become addicted.
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-ideally before they are exposed to the glossy fantasy
- Increase awareness and understanding
- Offer a connection to those that have been through similar experiences
- Seek professional advice and support