How to talk to your teen about gambling

Plastic carnival jockeys

Today, most of Victoria has a holiday for a horse race. And whether it’s in a family sweep or an online bet on the trifecta, many will also have a flutter on the big race. For most, it’s a harmless bit of fun only indulged in during the Spring Carnival.

However, there is another much more serious side to gambling – and your teenage son could be at risk.

Teen boys are more at risk of developing gambling problems than ever before

Here are the facts:

  • Sports gambling is everywhere – its promoted, it’s easy and has been ‘normalised’
  • A smartphone and access to an online bank account/credit card – it’s all your son needs to bet 24/7, no matter how old he is.
  • Boys are more likely to gamble than girls, and are also more likely to place bigger bets.
  • Social media, apps and advertising make online betting attractive to young people.
  • 1 in 5 adults with gambling problems started before they were 18.

Starting the conversation about gambling

Talking to your son about gambling and the risks associated with gambling can help him make better choices down the track.

Here are some conversation starters from The Victorian Responsible Gambling website. https://www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/home

  1. Did you know Facebook now has gambling?
  2. Is gambling advertising changing the way we enjoy sport?
  3. What’s the drama about live odds in sports coverage?
  4. How many different ways to gamble are there?
  5. Did you know it is illegal to gamble if you are under 18?
  6. Is gambling more ‘in your face’ than ever?
  7. Is peer pressure about gambling increasing?

If you are actually worried your son might have a problem, why not check the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation website where there are great resources for parents and teens.

Or you can call the Gambler’s Help Youthline on 1800 262 376 for advice on how to approach the conversation. They can also help you revisit the subject if your first attempt to talk to your son went a bit pear shaped.

Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

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