Teachers to be trained to help Scots CHILDREN in fight against gambling addiction
TEACHERS are getting training to help teenage gambling addicts in their classrooms.
Research in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire found that 9% of 11 to 16-year-olds were “problem gamblers” – with a further 15% “at risk” from the dangers of gambling.
Now Scottish teachers are to be given training to help youngsters who are now hooked on the “seriously addictive” gambling sites that use colourful animated ads to appeal to the young.
Training will be given to teachers across Scotland next month by Fast Forward – an anti-addiction charity.
They describe problem gambling as a “growing health concern”, noting that it is associated with “social deprivation” – and that the 9% Scottish figure of young problem gamblers is far higher than the 2% UK average.
Their training will prepare teachers to inform students as young as 15 how gambling works – including how chance and the law of averages weigh on their odds of winning.
It will also “explore misconceptions that people commonly have about gambling” and “explore what problem gambling is, its consequences and its links to other risk-taking behaviours”.
Teaching workshops will also discuss the influence that advertising has on gambling, and introduce kids to potential support networks if they do fall foul of addiction.
Chiara Marin – senior development officer for the charity – said: “Problem gambling is not a new problem – however with young people it’s often hidden and it may go unrecognised.
“Our training may help teachers become aware of a growing social issue.”
She said that their training would avoid “just say no” approaches that have proven ineffective with other types of addiction. Instead the training will help pupils to make “informed choices…to protect themselves”.
Euan Duncan – president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association – admitted that gambling addiction “appears to be a problem facing a rising number of older teenagers.”
He said: “There is no doubt that some online gambling games are designed to be seriously addictive.”
“Teenagers tend to have very low incomes…and the lure of a big win could lead vulnerable young people to become mired in debt and indulge in further risky behaviour.”
He added that gambling companies – like tobacco companies in the past – are now creating colorful animated advertisements to appeal to the young.
He also said that he had undertaken a brief straw poll with kids – and found that most could easily identify the names of gambling websites.
Paul Heward – project manager of the Financial Education Trust – said that pupils are often overconfident in their ability to gamble.
This – he said – can leave them vulnerable to websites which have links to short-term loan companies, where interest can be as high as 7,000%.