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Responsible Gambling: How To Protect Minors from Underage Gambling

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Gambling has been present among us for centuries. Throughout history, we, as humans, have always sought ways to entertain ourselves, and thus we invented various games that we can put our money on. Today, the gambling scene is bigger than ever and even more accessible. We still have land-based venues that do their best only to let people of age come in. 

However, besides controlling physical casinos, the online casino industry has opened doors to people of all ages. And even though online establishments do their best to check the age of a player and prevent minors from gambling – thus promoting responsible gambling – the kids may still find the way. Or there are other ways they might get into gambling. So, if you want to learn more about how we can protect minors from gambling, here are a few useful tips and things to pay attention to.

The Reality of Underage Gambling

It is a fact that gambling can be addictive. As adults, people find it easier to rationalize and prevent themselves from getting hooked. However, this might be much harder for kids, as they don’t understand the influence gambling has on their minds. 

There is the psychological impact where gambling can consume the focus of a child and affect their social and academic life. There is also the risk of escalation – if kids start gambling early, they are more prone to risky behavior and substance abuse later in life. We cannot forget about the financial and legal implications.

These are the main reasons why we should do our best to prevent underage gambling, and early intervention is key.

How Does Underage Gambling Occur?

Even though there are strict legal restrictions and efforts from parents to protect their children, they still might find ways to gamble. Children are way more resourceful than we realize, and they might employ tactics to go around the laws by:

  • Using the ID and details of a family member to register at online casinos
  • Using fake IDs to enter the casino
  • Accessing unregulated and offshore online casino websites
  • Using previously verified accounts of older friends.

If you are afraid that your child might be gambling, try and look for clues and fake IDs. Experts also suggest paying attention to any changes in your child’s behavior. For example, experts from Gamble Ontario are working hard on preventing underage gambling and urge adults to pay attention to these signs:

  • Lower and failing grades
  • Lower interest in social activities
  • Irritable, anxious, and aggressive behavior
  • Noticeable changes in the amount of money your child has
  • More frequent asking for money or even stealing money from family and friends
  • Secretive behavior or visible irritation when asked about potential problems
  • Regular discussions and a positive mindset towards gambling activities. 

These are some of the signs that may tell you that your child is gambling. You can learn more about underage gambling here https://www.gambleontario.ca/responsible-gambling/underage-gambling/. And if you notice some of these, talk to your kid and employ proven tactics to prevent underage gambling.

How to Keep the Minors Safe?

The government would enforce legislation protecting every child from gambling in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and as parents and guardians, we are responsible for their safety, as we cannot depend on casinos, the government, schools, and others to do so. But, if you are uncertain how to approach the problem of protection, here are some starting points:

  • Talk about gambling openly – discuss with your child how risky gambling is and how important it is to gamble responsibly when they come of age.
  • Please keep track of your child’s game choices and check the websites they visit.
  • Make sure to BLOCK their access to mature content and websites online.
  • If you gamble, keep your account away from them.

What About Peer Pressure?

Peer pressure has always been here and will continue to exist. If you want to protect your child from being influenced by others to engage in risky behavior, you must talk to them. Empower your kid to handle peer pressure like a pro – through role-playing exercises, for example. Also, while doing those exercises, make sure to cover the essential aspects, including:

  • Declining any invitations and pressure to gamble
  • Staying firm on their decision not to gamble when peers keep pushing
  • Resisting the urgent to gamble as part of social acceptance

Another way to protect your child is to explain how important it is to choose friends with the same values. If they feel forced to do something by someone, explain to them they don’t have to be a friend with that person. A true friend won’t pressure them to do anything. A valuable lesson for life!

Protecting the Child Online

Besides talking to your child and teaching them how to choose friends and how to stay safe and away from gambling, there are more technical things you can do to protect them. Yes, this is protecting them online.

In case you love to dabble in gambling and have an active account, there are things to do to make sure to keep it away from children:

  • Use Incognito mode (private browsing) when gambling. You can also clear your browser history so the child won’t have the direct link to the operator.
  • Always log out from the casino account.
  • Use a very strong password to protect the account.
  • Enable two-factor authentication linked to your phone for added security.
  • Hide the casino app icon on your phone or tablet.

Another way is to install parental control software wherever you can (on all devices). This will give you extra control and supervision over sites your child visits and can access. However, make sure to install this software on ALL devices that your child uses. You can use some of these software to help you supervise the kid:

  • BetBlocker
  • Net Nanny
  • Bark 
  • Gamban
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids, and many more.

Gambling is addictive. Unfortunately, children don’t have strong decision-making skills and a sense of responsibility when it comes to games that might earn them some cash – especially since those games can be addictive. That is why you should pay special attention to your kids’ behavior, supervise what they do on the internet, and employ all tactics to keep them safe.

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