Teen Gambling on the Rise in Canada
Recent studies coming out of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Waterloo in Canada have reportedly shown that a “significantly high proportion” of teenagers are now gambling.
The chief concern may be the added detail of said gambling happening on unregulated venues, drawing even greater concerns of how the teens are initially starting the process.
Growth in Teen Gambling
Per the survey, roughly 42% of the teens admitted to gambling money off or online to some degree. The type of gambling varied, from scratch off tickets, to online poker, to games of skill.
CAMH scientist, Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall suggested the findings could slowly be revealing a problem with youth and gambling:
“Young people who are also gambling online are individuals who are seeking out a range of gambling experiences, which could put them at greater risk for problem gambling.”
The study, which gathered intel on 10,000 high school students, graded ninth through 12th, revealed that the majority of the teens that gamble are males and are initially interested in sports betting.
In addition to the draw of competition and financial gain, gambling is even more attractive than ever to the youth due to accessibility and availability online. More importantly, the reach is extremely broad thanks to numerous popular gambling websites, as well as the prolific nature of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, among others.
The root of the problem could also be where the gambling draw stems from, while most of the students who were said to have gambled were not yet of legal age to do so.
Gambling itself is a dicey subject in many respects, both due to legality issues depending on where you reside, with morale and public perception also playing into how the activity is conducted and perceived in society.
Typically when gambling gets out of hand and turns into a dangerous addiction, it’s affiliated with other sorts of abuse, whether it be drug, alcohol or anxiety related. The recent study is the first findings of a clear connection between teens and problem gambling. Per Elton-Marshall, the younger the teens start gambling, the more likely they are to develop and addiction or unhealthy gambling habit.
The modern age makes this an issue more than the actual gambling, oddly, as accessibility tops the actual act due to the various online games and venues people have access to.
Even with that being today’s reality, moderation is key with anything. Social media is abused routinely, from Facebook to Pinterest, emails are binged by businessmen by the hour and game apps on phones are touched on the drop of a dime when conversations start to dry up.
Gambling can be highly entertaining, even lucrative and absolutely harmless when used correctly and just like with anything else concerning someone that isn’t of age, it should also be moderated until someone is of the sound mind to make decisions when it comes to financial risk and how they spend their time.
The other big note perhaps that should be taken from this study, as unearthing as it potentially could be, is that the sample size is relatively small. Taking a pool of 10,000 Canadian students represents a fraction of the youth population, especially considering how Canada allows some online gambling.
Finding teens that are partaking in various types of gambling doesn’t necessarily reveal gambling addiction, either. It absolutely paints the hypothetical picture of youth growing into a vice that starts out harmless and becomes a problem, but at its core doesn’t have to necessarily be anything more serious than video games or competitive sports.
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