1 in 5 students (14-18 years) already gambles for money. This is apparent from the student survey of the Flemish expertise center Alcohol and Other Drugs (VAD). How do you know if your students are gambling? And how do you discuss the theme? Jolien Moernaut of the VAD gives advice.
Is the theme of gambling alive in your class?
You can’t tell from someone’s face that he is gambling. There are no specific signals. Because gambling mainly happens in free time, it is extra difficult to see signals at school. The best thing you can do as a teacher is to be aware of changing behavior:
- New cliques in the classroom: teachers can often infer more from group behavior than from individual signals. So be alert if new cliques are suddenly formed in the classroom. Especially if they isolate themselves from the rest and are the subject of rumors.
- Less time for hobbies and schoolwork: Those with a gambling problem spend more and more time gambling. That comes at the expense of other things. He can isolate himself, drop his friends and hobbies. His schoolwork can also suffer: reduced performance, truancy, being late.
- Suddenly a lot more money or money problems: A youngster who often wins at gambling can be tough about it. They talk less about losses. But who often loses, is in need of money. They can start borrowing money, negotiating money, or – in extreme cases – even extorting fellow students.
- Important: These behavioral changes do not necessarily indicate gambling. They can also be expressions of normal teenage behavior, other problems, or another addiction, such as drugs, alcohol, or gaming. So try to treat the signals as discreetly as possible. After all, it’s mostly about conjectures.
Discuss gambling problems
Do you discover that students gamble? Have a conversation
- Listen to the students. Do they often talk about winning or losing? Is money an important topic of conversation? Do they borrow from each other? Highlights all aspects: how to handle money, earn money, save and spend money.
- Show interest. Why do they like gambling? Do the disadvantages outweigh the advantages? Can they find the same benefits/kicks elsewhere?
- Don’t ignore the topic. for fear, it will
spark even more students with ideas. Put gambling in the list of other stimulants: smoking, drugs, alcohol. Things you become addicted to.
- Highlights gambling from the pitfalls most gamblers finds in gardens. Poll their own strategies and experiences. How do they make sure they win? From there, debunk their faulty reasoning about gambling.
- Students often gamble out of boredom. Provide other recreational opportunities that students get a kick out of, such as a football tournament like เปิดUSER100 at lunchtime.
- If gambling becomes problematic, you can refer a student to the Drug Line: 078 15 10 20. He can go there anonymously via email, chat, or telephone (Mon-Fri 10 am-8 pm). The employees can also inform him about emergency services in his neighborhood. For example, young people can contact the CLB or the ‘early intervention alcohol and other drugs’ projects of the Center for Mental Health Care (CGG).
Prevent your students from gambling
Are your students not gambling? Even then it is important that you inform them properly. Talk to them about the pitfalls and dangers of the many gambling games. Take the time to exchange experiences, for example through a game of propositions. Listen to what is going on in your class. Teach them to handle games of chance responsibly and to be critical of advertising for games of chance and the promised (or hoped) money profit. If gambling is part of your school drug policy, you’re all set. Prevention workers from the Flemish Centers for Mental Health Care (CGG) can help you with this.