It appears that online gambling has taken a different turn in the world of inexperienced, foolhardy, bored adolescents. And one can only guess that the SouthPark parents are the ones raising their pitchforks and torches towards the castle of online gambling.
The Central Coast Problem Gambling Service research project recently found that many teens over the age of 14 have taken part in gambling at one time or another. The study indicates that of 200 teens, 62% under the age of 14 and 77% of those up to 17 had gambled for things ranging from money to cell phones and iPods. Further, 25% of those gambling had lost “more than they intended.” So not only do teens have a gambling problem, but they aren’t very good at it! Six percent of those studied had played a poker machine.
The manager at the Problem Gambling Service, Chris Davidson, also mentioned that one girl had actually lost her virginity on a bet while another had stolen his parents’ credit card and lost $3,000 to online gambling. However, nobody at the service seems to notice that this child’s problem is less online gambling addiction and more being somebody that steals.
John Hazelwood, a counselour for youngsters with gambling problems says that the rise of online gambling has made it easier for teens to hide their addiction and that he has in fact seen teens with poker machine addictions. With so few a percentage of teens actually being addicted to gambling, it begs the question, “Is this something we need to worry about as a society?” I say no. 6% of 200 means 12 kids have “played” a poker machine. Having played a poker machine does not constitute a problem and furthermore, stealing seems to be these kids problems…not gambling.