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Gambling on the Internet: early detection of gambling addiction among children
According to an older study, around half a million people in Germany are affected by gambling addiction. Many are at risk. Today, however, children and adolescents mostly no longer play at the machine, but on the Internet. This makes it even more difficult for parents to keep track of the gaming activities of the youngsters.
Half a million Germans are affected by gambling addiction
Experts repeatedly warn of the great risk of addiction to gambling. According to an older study on pathological gambling and epidemiology (PAGE), around 500,000 people in Germany are affected by gambling addiction. Tens of thousands of people are at risk, including children and adolescents. These days, they play less on the machine than online. This complicates the situation for parents.
Nowadays children and teenagers play on the Internet
It is also made particularly easy for young people. With just one click on the Internet, everyone can confirm that they are 18 years old. In this way, young people can take part in online games of chance, although the Youth Protection Act actually prohibits this.
The professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) warned, according to a message from the news agency dpa, that simulated gambling increases the risk of gambling addiction among young people, even if it is not initially about money. Then the transition from gaming fun to playing for real money is fluid.
Is my child addicted to gambling?
But how can you tell that your own offspring is addicted to games? According to the adolescent doctors, a sign could be that the child is constantly asking for money. In some cases, the chronically clammy teenagers also sell things that are of great value to them.
In addition, they usually meet their friends less often or neglect their personal hygiene. Parents should always be aware if their child changes a lot in a short time.
Clear rules for media and internet use
According to the doctors, countermeasures can be taken by setting up clear rules for media and internet use together with the adolescent and setting them down in a contract - for example, before a new computer is purchased.
In addition, parents should offer their children alternatives for their free time: for example, going to a concert with friends or membership in a sports club.
But sometimes it is better to seek professional help. People affected by gambling addiction can often be helped through therapy with psychotherapeutic discussions and group work.
Game addicts “should definitely get help early, for example by going to a counseling center for game addiction. Those affected or their relatives can get information there and, if necessary, take advantage of professional help, ”explained Dr. Olivier Simon on behalf of the Swiss Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (SGPP) on the specialist portal "www.psychiater-im-netz.org". (ad)