Lessons about the risks of gambling have been trialled in secondary schools in an attempt to address high levels of gambling among school-age children. Around 25,000 children in the UK are currently classed as problem gamblers, with one recent survey finding that one in six 11-to-15-year-olds admitted to gambling in the last week.
Yet according to the cross-party thinktank Demos, gambling is rarely included in the school curriculum, which routinely teaches about the dangers of other risky behaviours including alcohol, drugs and sex.
In an attempt to fill the gap, Demos has piloted lessons to teach children about the risks of gambling and where to go for help and support. The aim is to encourage pupils to weigh up risk, identify manipulative behaviour by gambling companies, learn about managing impulses, and help others who are experiencing gambling problems.
A series of four lessons were taught at schools across the country, reaching 650 pupils. Of those, 41% said they had participated in gambling within the last year, most commonly using money to place bets (21%), followed by playing fruit machines (17%) and playing cards for money (14%).
– Sally Weale
Image source – Flickr.com