Gambling is an adult activity; however, children and young people are being drawn to it through increasing exposure in marketing, advertising, video games and social media.
Recent GambleAware research showed that 94% of 11-17-year-olds in Great Britain had been exposed to gambling adverts in the last month, seeing an average of six adverts. It is clear that social media and the new digital era provides a harmful level of access for gambling advertising to young people and children.
Further, it is estimated that 41,000 followers of gambling accounts on social media are likely to be under the age of 16. In a similar vein, loot boxes in video games are also an area of concern; GambleAware-commissioned research found they are ‘akin’ to gambling, and 40% of children who play video games were found to use these features.
… social media and the new digital era provides a harmful level of access for gambling advertising to young people and children
Fast Forward’s Scottish Gambling Education Hub is funded by Gamble Aware. Fast Forward focuses on enabling young people to make informed choices about their wellbeing, with a particular focus on risk-taking behaviours towards living healthier lifestyles. We provide high-quality health education, prevention interventions and projects on a variety of issues and risk-taking behaviours impacting young people.
Due to our expertise in this area, GambleAware commissioned Fast Forward’s Scottish Gambling Education Hub (SGEH) to deliver education and prevention your regarding gambling harms to young people across Scotland.
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SGEH provides specific tools, services and resources designed to be used by teachers and other adults in young people’s lives. We deliver free, bespoke training – online or in person – to any teacher working within Scotland. Our programmes educate teachers on what defines gambling, how it works, and how it impacts young people. We cover gambling harms as a public health issue, the risk factors to be aware of around young people and gambling-related harm, and how to reduce those risks and respond correctly.
This is reflected in the personal progress of the practitioners utilising our training: 92% of practitioners reported feeling confident they could identify and recognise the signs of gambling harms – compared to just 35% pre-training.
Making informed choices
Ensuring that young people are aware of gambling-related harm gives them the ability to make informed choices regarding their engagement with these activities from a younger age. Teachers are ideally placed to deliver this important training as the concept of gambling can be introduced in a variety of styles and formats throughout the curriculum. This way, teachers can appeal to children and young people’s varying interests, while raising their awareness of the risks and possible harms relating to gambling in an engaging way.
Benefits of drama
Drama is a crucial element of our education and prevention programs in Scotland. We run a theatre programme centred around our educational play Trust Me which has toured round schools since 2019, and the Trust Me film produced during lockdown, and available on www.trustmefilm.org.uk, both of which together have engaged directly with thousands of young people and teachers across Scotland.
Follow-up activities available through our programme include session plans and resources to help teachers deliver two focused sessions for pupils who have watched the film. Fast Forward supports teachers in the initial delivery of these sessions, and we work to give them the confidence to be able to deliver these in future themselves, with the overarching aim of building long-lasting skills around preventing gambling harms among children in Scotland’s teachers.
92% of practitioners reported feeling confident they could identify and recognise the signs of gambling harms – compared to just 35% pre-training
Our work has reached all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities and trained staff from more than 550 organisations including schools, colleges, universities, and social care groups. Over 15,000 young people attended the peer-based theatre tour of Trust Me; nearly 3,000 professionals attended accredited training; and the educational toolkit has been downloaded over 5,000 times.
Due to the successes of our project, GambleAware has since invested £2.5 million into two further Gambling Education Hubs Projects in England and Wales. The Hubs in England will be managed by GamCare and partners, and the Hubs in Wales are set to be managed by Adferiad Recovery.
Anyone concerned about their gambling, or that of a loved one, can visit BeGambleAware.org for free, confidential advice and support, or The National Gambling Helpline is available on 0808 8020 133 and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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