Research shows that about 40 percent of problem gamblers started gambling before the age of 17. Even though many forms of gambling are illegal for teens, there is little to stop a teen from placing bets online—if they are able to get their hands on a credit card, they can easily register for a gambling website.
Risk Factors For Teen Online Gambling
- Private, unlimited access to the internet (i.e., in a bedroom)
- Having immediate family members who gamble
- Frequent use of “free” areas on gambling websites
- Strong thrill-seeking tendencies
- Impulsive behavior
What should you do if you suspect your teen might be gambling online?
- Establish and enforce clear rules about what kinds of sites are allowed and those that are not allowed
- Install software that blocks access to online gambling websites
- Talk to your child about the dangers of online gambling and why it is especially inappropriate for someone of his or her age
- Keep track of which websites your child is visiting
- Make sure that computers are in open common areas of your home
Talking about gambling is the first step toward preventing problems down the road—the National Center for Responsible Gambling offers materials that can help you have the conversation. If your teen is struggling with a gambling disorder, please check the Get Help page for resources in your area.