#ExtraGive to Help Prevent Problem Gambling in Kids

Would your child know what to say if someone asked him or her to gamble? Every day, whether it’s at home or school, children in the Lancaster, PA community face tough choices about unhealthy behaviors–and gambling is one of those.

Many adults are able to gamble without negative consequences; however, children and teens who gamble are at higher risk for developing gambling addiction later in life.

Problem gambling is a diagnosable condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or financial status. It’s been connected to an increased risk of substance abuse, depression, and suicide.

Learn more in 5 Problem Gambling Myths Exposed.

Help Kids in the Lancaster Community Make Healthy Choices About Gambling

Since 1966, Compass Mark has helped individuals, families, educators, and others prevent addiction in our community. We serve over 17,000 people each year through substance abuse and problem gambling education, youth development, and information / referral services.

We offer a youth gambling and addiction prevention program called We Know BETter to schools in Lancaster and Lebanon. This curriculum, aimed at students in grades 4-8, incorporates age-appropriate activities to help youth learn practical refusal skills and improve coping strategies.

Donate to Compass Mark on Friday, November 18, 2016 during The Extraordinary Give. Your investment in the Lancaster community will help our team continue to teach kids and teens the life skills they need to  make healthy decisions. For more information about this event, visit Extra Give.

Does Childhood Maltreatment Contribute to Problem Gambling? [Research]

People with gambling disorder reported significantly higher levels of childhood maltreatment, according to a recent study.

The researchers conducted personal interviews with participants, asking them about their history of emotional abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. For example, the findings, which were reviewed on the Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report (WAGER), revealed:

  • 40% of problem gamblers reported emotional abuse, compared with 12% of non-problem gamblers.
  • 48% of problem gamblers reported verbal abuse, as opposed to 19% of non-problem gamblers.

As WAGER notes, the study shows a connection but doesn’t prove that childhood maltreatment causes gambling problems. Rather, it suggests that positive parenting may act as a protective factor against risky behaviors, like disordered gambling.

What are protective factors?

Protective factors are qualities or skills that help youth make healthier decisions about gambling and other risky activities. Protective factors include things like:

  • Family cohesion;
  • Consistent discipline;
  • School engagement;
  • Strong communication skills;
  • Good relationships with peers;
  • Good conflict resolution skills.

Compass Mark programs, including gambling awareness and education curriculum We Know BETter, work to build specific protective factors in Lancaster- and Lebanon-area youth. For example, We Know BETter utilizes age-appropriate activities to help children in grades 4-8 learn about the dangers of youth gambling as well as practice refusal and coping skills.

Contact us at 717-299-2831 to learn how this gambling education program will help build protective factors in your students so they can make healthier decisions about gambling.


Help Prevent Youth Gambling: #ExtraGive to Compass Mark Kids

To gamble or not to gamble? Every day, Lancaster County kids are faced with choices that could affect them for the rest of their lives. Some of those choices, like substance use, receive plenty of attention–and rightfully so. But there’s another potentially dangerous activity that often flies under the radar: youth gambling.

Gambling can be a harmless form of entertainment for most (although certainly not all) adults. However, research suggests that the younger a person is when he or she starts gambling, the higher their risk of developing compulsive gambling. People struggling with this condition have an increased risk of substance abuse and depression. Gambling-addicted people also have among the highest suicide rates of any group with addiction. These factors make it critical that kids and teens learn the healthy life skills needed to reduce their addiction risk.

Prevention is what we do best at Compass Mark. Our nationally-recognized programs teach Lancaster County youth the skills they need to resist unhealthy choices, whether it’s drugs or sex or gambling.

We offer a range of prevention programs to target unhealthy behaviors. Our youth gambling program is called We Know BETter. This prevention curriculum, aimed at students in grades 4-8, incorporates age-appropriate activities to help children learn practical refusal skills and improve coping strategies.

Help Lancaster’s Kids Make Healthy Choices About Gambling

When you invest in a child you invest in a healthy community that spends less money on addiction treatment, law enforcement, and more. Give to Compass Mark Kids on Friday, November 20th during The Extraordinary Give to help our team continue teaching youth real-life skills that will help them make better decisions. For more information, visit Extra Give.

Help us get the word out over the next few days by sharing or liking some of our Facebook posts, retweeting us @CompassMarkInc, and talking with friends, family, and neighbors.


Gambling Myths – Are They Getting a Teen You Know in Trouble?

I can win this football pool if I know all the players’ stats.

I’m good at video games, so I’ll be good at online gambling.

Those of us who live with or work with teens (or both) understand that the adolescent brain is far from mature. As a result, they’re at higher risk for developing addictive behaviors, like compulsive gambling. Sometimes the seeds for problem gambling are sown in the myths youth believe, including:

Gambling is “no big deal.”

Youth gambling is a “big deal.” First, it’s illegal. In Pennsylvania, the legal gambling age is 21 for casinos and gaming facilities and 18 for the lottery. The consequences of being caught gambling underage can be especially real for student athletes, who may have scholarship or eligibility obligations that require them to stay out of trouble.

Children and teens who develop problem gambling behaviors are also laying the foundation for lifelong addiction. Kids who begin to gamble early in life have an increased risk of developing more severe gambling problems as adults, betting more frequently and experiencing more serious related issues than those who start wagering later.

I play video games, so I’ll be good at video or online gambling.

A video game, whether it’s racing go-karts or battling demons, requires skill, often acquired over time through practice. Online slots and other video-type games of chance are just that: games of chance. Winning or losing does not depend on the child’s level of experience or ability to play strategically. The casino or gambling website is supposed to win—and the games are designed for exactly that purpose.

It’s easy to win if you know what you’re doing.

On average, about 33% of youth in a 2008 study said that practice would make them more successful gamblers. Among 8 to 11 year olds, that number was nearly 50%. Furthermore, almost 20% of youth said that skill could help win even completely random games, such as roulette.

The idea that knowledge is the key to winning is also common with youth who bet on sports. For instance, a teen might feel he has a much better chance of winning if he knows how often a team wins when it plays outdoors in January, or if he knows that Bob All Star sinks every 3-pointer during nighttime home games. The reality is that a game is just that—a game. Anything can happen, regardless of a team or a player’s past performance.

It’s okay because my parents do it.

A home environment that includes regular parental gambling can send the message that it’s fine for the teen to wager as well. In some families, youth may even play games like blackjack or poker with parents and other relatives. Research shows that the children of problem gamblers start playing earlier than their peers. Remember: kids who gamble earlier in life have a higher risk of developing compulsive gambling behaviors later.

I can stop if I want to.

If a youth or teen has tried to stop gambling but has been unable to do so, he or she needs professional treatment. Find the resources to help a youth in Lancaster or Lebanon by calling Compass Mark at (717) 299-2831 or using the online help form.

Do you work with kids? Compass Mark offers We Know BETter, a problem gambling awareness program for children in grades 4-8.  This free curriculum teaches youth the decision-making and coping skills they need to make smart decisions about gambling. Call (717) 299-2831 to learn more.