Online Games Can Increase Risk of Gambling in Teens
Mark Griffiths, the director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University in England, warns that children need to learn about gambling and gambling addiction because they could be at risk for developing problem gambling behaviors.
Griffiths states that the increase of social media online games played by young people could potentially lead to childhood gambling problems (Bloom, 2014). Many of these games can introduce a child to the gratification and rewards of gambling without ever playing with money. Online poker games that use virtual money can lead to gambling in children because, as Griffiths states, “When you start winning, you start thinking that, if I was playing with real money, I could be doing quite well” (Bloom, 2014). In addition, social media games such as Candy Crush Saga—a game that has been downloaded over 500 million times—allows players to pay real money to access higher levels, which Griffiths states is “a bit like the old drug-dealing analogy of giving a bit for free and hooking them in” (Bloom, 2014).
An organization in the UK called Gamble Aware stated that “2 percent of people between the ages of eleven and fifteen had trouble controlling their gambling behavior” (Bloom, 2014). Unfortunately, the organization stated that the earlier gambling begins, the more likely it is that there will be problematic gambling behaviors later in life.
Griffiths believes the answer to the increasing risk of gambling problems in young people is education. According to Shawn Dwyer, a writer for The Fix, Griffiths believes that “teachers stand to play a vital role in providing students lessons about potential risks and rewards, as well as understanding how gambling inherently creates more losers than winners” (2014).
Bloom, A. (2014). Online games can ‘hook’ children into gambling. TES. Retrieved from http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6389543
Dwyer, S. (2014). Children at risk from online gambling, expert says. The Fix. Retrieved from http://www.thefix.com/content/children-risk-online-gambling-expert-says