This fall, students across the country will start to head back into classrooms. If you’re an educator, Change The Game Ohio provides plenty of ways you can educate your students on the risks of gambling behaviors.
The reality is that students are an at-risk population, as 6.5% of 14 to 21-year-olds are at risk for problem gambling. Everyone has a role to play in preventing problem gambling among young people, and it starts with knowing the facts.
You might not see your students gambling in traditional ways, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t participating in gambling activities. Many young people spend hours playing games on computers and mobile devices. These countless games including coins, gems, loot boxes, and skins that replicate real-life gambling situations like the sensation of winning big and spending more to get more rewards. Games also have unrealistic depictions of winning, manipulating youth into spending more money on upgrades to receive a “competitive advantage.” This can put youth at-risk of developing a problem with gambling later in life.
There are a few telltale signs of a student who might be gambling. This can include:
- Unexplained absences from school/classes or a sudden drop in grades
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Bragging about gambling activities
- Unusual interest in sports scores
- Questionable explanations for new items or loss of valuable possessions
- Uncharacteristically forgetting appointments or other important dates
Additionally, research shows that kids who gamble are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as:
- Using alcohol
- Using tobacco
- Criminal activity
- Falling behind in classes
- Getting into altercations with other students
Change The Game Ohio has a wide range of tools and resources, including handouts, classroom presentations, and student worksheets that can equip educators for the school year. You can access these materials and more at changethegameohio.org/education/education-for-educators/
If you think that a student has a problem with gaming or gambling, they or a parent/caregiver can access help by calling the free, 24/7 helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or by texting 4HOPE to 741741.
Learn more about the reality of youth gaming at ChangeTheGameOhio.org