If you’re a parent of a teenager, you know how difficult it can be to get them to put down their phone or step away from the computer. But what if those hours spent gaming or gambling weren’t just a harmless way to pass the time? What if your teen was actually developing an addiction?
As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of addiction in your child. If they’re spending more and more time gaming or gambling, their grades may start to slip. They may become withdrawn and isolate themselves from friends and family. You may even notice changes in their sleep or eating habits.
If you think your teen may be developing an addiction, there are resources available to help. Talk to your child’s pediatrician or school counselor about your concerns. There are also many online resources that can help you understand addiction and how to address it with your teenager.
Understanding the Danger
There’s more than one reason to take the issue of youth gambling seriously. Adolescent brains aren’t fully developed. As a result, young people are more likely to act impulsively and take risks.
Research shows that kids who gamble are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as:
• Using Alcohol
• Using Tobacco
• Criminal Activity
• Falling Behind in Classes
• Getting into Altercations with Other Students
Proactive Parenting Tips
Discuss how gambling can become a problem and lead to depression, financial problems, low self-esteem, a decline in grades, and damaged friendships.
Make sure your child understands that underage gambling is illegal.
Explain that gambling results in more losses than gains, and that being responsible with money is important.
Discuss responsible spending. If your child has an after-school job or gets an allowance make sure you discuss how they plan to spend their money.
Make sure to ask questions about their experiences with gambling, and listen to their answers.
Encourage healthy screen activity by visiting:
Signs of device addiction –
- Feeling distressed, anxious, or depressed when leaving their devices for a length of time
- Using technology to avoid schoolwork, family time, stresses, or other obligations
- Continuing to use technology even after experiencing cyberbullying
- Feeling a constant need to check your phone