Lessons revealing the consequences of gambling-related harm have been trialled in British secondary schools as part of the measures aimed at tackling gambling among young children. According to a recent survey, approximately 25,000 children in the UK are considered problem gamblers for the time being, with one in six children from 11 to 15 years old admitting to have gambled over the last week.
The thinktank Demos commented that lessons about the risks of gambling are rarely included in the local schools’ curriculum and recommended that the gap should be filled. In order to do that, Demos joined forces with the GambleAware charity organisation to pilot lessons aimed at making secondary school pupils more aware of the gambling-related problems. The main goal of the lessons is to encourage schoolchildren to weigh up the risks of gambling, including to identify methods of manipulation used by gambling operators to encourage them to gamble.
One of the Demos’ social policy researchers, Simone Vibert, shared that young people needed to be taught about the negative consequences gambling could inflict on their lives. He explained that measures should be taken to tackle problem gambling, as the latter could bring havoc in players’ lives. As Mr. Vibert said, prevention was far more preferable to treatment of gambling addiction later. He further revealed that the lessons initiated by Demos encouraged schoolchildren to weigh the risks and learn how to control their impulses to prevent problem gambling.
Secondary Schools Lessons to Tackle Problem Gambling
For now, a series of four lessons were taught at UK schools, with a total of 650 pupils being reached. Reportedly, 41% of these children revealed that they had taken part in gambling activities over the last year. Of these, 21% revealed that they participated in real-money betting activities, 17% confessed they had played fruit machines, and 14% said that they had played card games for money.
Demos revealed that a significant decline in the proportion of schoolchildren playing cards for money was observed in a 12-month test period. A net decline of 7% was registered relatively to a comparison group. In addition, a massive increase in the number of pupils who were able to describe how to help a person dealing with a gambling addiction was revealed. In addition, Demos further revealed that more pupils were aware where to seek help in case they face gambling problems.
Now, the thinktank has called the UK Government to include such lessons in schools’ curriculum as part of gambling-related harm prevention measures.
As mentioned above, the latest measures taken by Demos against negative consequences of gambling were backed by the independent charity GambleAware, known for its initiatives related to research, prevention, education and treatment of problem gambling in the UK. The Director of Education at the charity, Dr. Jane Rigbye, commented that there was a certain trend of making gambling look normal to children through increased and aggressive advertising. According to De. Rigbye, measures should be taken against such approach of gambling operators, with more programmes rolled out to protect children effectively.