Online gambling may put children at risk of internet addiction. Many parents don’t have too many concerns with internet gambling, mostly because there are so many other worries out there like sexting, child predators, cyberbullying, etc. However, it might be time to put internet gambling on the red flag list as well.
Many internet gambling sites don’t clearly state that underage gambling is not allowed, 20% of the sites don’t have disclaimers or warnings anywhere. Many gaming sites have ads aimed at younger children for gambling sites.
Gambling online offers children instant gratification. It can also fuel addiction, causing loss of interest in school or friends. Internet gambling is sometimes done with a credit card, so some children steal their parents’ credit card numbers. As a result, credit ratings may be ruined due to unpaid debt.
The International Center for Youth Gambling Problems says that 3% of adults struggle with gambling addiction, but 8% of kids under 18 have compulsive gambling problems. That’s an unsettling number, but there are steps parents can take to protect children from internet gambling.
Parents can talk about the dangers of internet gambling. Watch for warning signs of the child spending too much time on the computer, or if he becomes irritated after spending time online. Don’t give IDs, passwords, or account information to children, even if it’s for gaming sites that allow kids. Parents can track the sites kids visit and block unwanted ones. Keep in mind that children can access internet through smartphones, so it’s important to be aware of cellphone use.
Internet addiction is real, but help is available for people facing this problem. There are addiction treatment centers that have specialized plans designed for Internet addicts. Unfortunately, kids who gamble may be more likely to drink alcohol, smoke, or use drugs. If this is the case, help is out there through top notch drug and alcohol rehab centers. Online gambling isn’t inherently dangerous, it just has to be monitored. It’s wise for parents to keep an eye on their children’s online activities to make sure they’re safe.