Teens and their parents from the Illawarra region have been the focus of a campaign this week to create awareness of and highlight the potential impacts for young people of gambling and gambling advertising.
Representatives from both Mission Australia and the Wesley Mission have walked the streets in order to offer support and to discuss with people the dangers of gambling whilst interactive sessions have been held with youth groups and various organisations.
Amanda Smith, a gambling counsellor with the Wesley Mission, said that it was difficult for young people as they have gambling being thrown at them while surfing the net, watching television and sporting events and playing online games.
Mrs Smith said, "I think gambling is more prevalent than people think (among young people) ... I would say around 50% of my client's families have gambled, so there's quite a chunk of them that were introduced to it when they were young by watching their parents go to the club and play the pokies."
In startling research obtained during a study by the Australian Council for Educational Research, 76% of 10 to 14 year olds and 64% of 15 to 17 year olds had gambled at least once in the past year. The most common forms of gambling in these age brackets were instant scratch its and lottery tickets as well as playing cards in private homes.
It is believed by many in the industry that the problem could evolve into something much worse for teenagers as they spend more and more time on the internet.
Source : Illawarra Mercury, 27 May 2015