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Analysis

Teenagers and online gambling: a serious problem that is multiplying in Argentina

Wednesday 22 de May 2024 / 12:00

2 minutos de lectura

(Argentina. SoloAzar Exclusive).-In recent years, a worrying trend has begun to emerge among Argentine teenagers: the growing interest and participation in online casinos. This phenomenon, driven by the easy accessibility and addictive nature of these platforms, is raising alarm among parents, educators, and mental health experts. The effects of this trend are already becoming evident in the school environment, where teachers are seeing worrying changes in the behavior and academic performance of their students.

Teenagers and online gambling: a serious problem that is multiplying in Argentina

The proliferation of online casinos has accelerated with the expansion of digital technology and almost universal access to the internet. Platforms offering games of chance such as poker, roulette, slots and sports betting are just a click away. Many of these sites do not implement strict controls to verify the age of their users, making it easy for minors to register and participate. Teenagers, attracted by the promise of easy money and the thrill of gambling, find these casinos an exciting and often addictive activity.

Impact on academic performance and behavior in schools

Teachers are on the front line of observing the effects of this trend. In many schools, an increase in distraction and lack of concentration in class is reported. "We began to see more cases at the beginning of 2023. Families came worried because they observed that, at their children's social gatherings, the children were making online bets or chatting about the subject. At our school we began to notice that some students, instead of perform tasks with their devices, they used them to gamble,” says Tatiana Nesis, psychologist and coordinator of the Northfield school guidance team to La Nación.

Cecilia, mother of Fabricio, 13 years old, told SoloAzar that, in March of this year, at the beginning of the school year, her son's schoolmates created a WhatsApp group with the 3 divisions of the 1st year of high school, to organize an internal soccer tournament. "In that same group, they told each boy to bring 3,000 pesos for betting." 

Gambling addiction also manifests itself in an increase in problematic behaviors. There are documented cases of students resorting to theft to finance their gambling habits, as well as an increase in missing classes. "A student confessed to me that he stopped coming to school because he lost all his money and felt ashamed," added another teacher.

Psychological and social consequences  

Beyond the academic impact online gaming is wreaking havoc on the mental health of adolescents. The American Psychiatric Association has already warned about the dangers of pathological gambling, which includes symptoms such as depression, anxiety and social isolation. Teenagers who develop a gambling addiction often experience a cycle of intense emotions, from the euphoria of a win to the despair of a significant loss. "They bet what they win until they start to lose and the toxic link with gambling appears, which is what is called gambling addiction, which has loss as a condition," explains Débora Blanca, a psychologist specialized in addictions to Página 12. "Many adolescents They start playing because they see their friends doing it or because they want to impress others with their supposed winnings. This can quickly lead to compulsive behavior."

The response of schools and families

Faced with this situation, schools are beginning to take measures. Some institutions are implementing educational programs about the risks of gambling, while others are training teachers to spot signs of addiction and provide appropriate support. However, many educators feel that these measures are insufficient without the support of families and the broader community.

Families also play a critical role in the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction. “The gambling addict always needs to lose because when he loses that is when the need arises to recover what he lost; "Then he bets again and loses again because the challenge is to see where he gets the money to play again."

Regulation and responsibility of gaming platforms

The regulation of online gambling is another key aspect to address this problem. In many countries, online gambling laws are lax or outdated. In Argentina, for example, there is no national law on online gaming. However, 17 provinces have taken the initiative to regulate online betting through their own laws. However, a major obstacle in this scenario is the presence of illegal sites that operate without state control. These sites, which are often promoted on social networks, represent a danger to teenagers, who are especially vulnerable to their recruitment tactics.

Gaming platforms must also take their share of responsibility. The implementation of tools that allow users to self-exclude, as well as awareness campaigns about responsible gaming, are necessary steps to mitigate the negative impact of these services.

Finally, it should be noted that the growing trend of teenagers gambling in online casinos is a warning sign that should not be ignored. The negative effects are already being felt in schools and on the mental health of young people. It is imperative that educational institutions, families and regulators work together to address this problem, offering education, support and preventive measures to protect adolescents from the dangers of online gambling.

Categoría:Analysis

Tags: Sin tags

País: Argentina

Región: South America

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