After two years of dedicated effort and success, we are excited to report that we have acquired funding for the extension of The Dee Why Project for an additional three years.
The Dee Why Project is generously funded by the Office of Responsible Gambling NSW and was established to develop a comprehensive gambling and gaming education awareness program, with case management, for the Dee Why community.
Over the past year, The Dee Why Project has successfully organised a Community Forum on Gaming and Gambling, which served as a platform for creating discussion and awareness-building around gaming and gambling.
To navigate children through responsible gaming and gambling, workshops were conducted in the Dee Why region to foster wellbeing and life skills among students. Open Services Days were also organised at secondary schools on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Internal training was provided to all Burdekin staff members, thanks to collaboration with GambleAware. This training significantly enhanced the confidence of staff in initiating conversations with young people regarding potential harm and occasional gambling habits.
Why focus on gaming and gambling?
Today’s generation of children and adolescents face a unique and concerning environment in relation to gambling. With smart phones and social media platforms at their fingertips, the line between gambling and entertainment has been blurred. Games are designed to be immersive, making it easy to lose track of time.
According to a Special Report by Dr. Michael Carr Greg, Child and Adolescent Psychologist, a “considerable number of teenagers are engaging in online gambling, facilitated by the industry’s normalisation of betting practices on the internet. A significant percentage of adolescents are involved in gambling activities and some experience adverse consequences, including diminished academic performance and strained relationships.”
It’s considered imperative by Dr. Michael Carr Greg that caregivers and parents have open discussions about media choices and encourage a balanced approach to screen time, promoting alternative activities for stress relief and boredom, and setting clear family rules for screen and internet use, including the establishment of spending limits for online gambling and in-game purchases. The aim is to empower children and young people to make informed and responsible decisions in the digital age.
What strategies can be used?
- Start early – begin the conversation about gambling at an age-appropriate level. Young children can understand the concept at an early age.
- Be a good role model – demonstrate responsible gambling behaviours and explain the importance of setting limits.
- Educate yourself – understand the various forms of gambling the young person may be exposed to.
- Be non-judgemental – create an open and safe environment where the young person feels comfortable to discuss their thoughts and experiences with gambling.
- Discuss risks and consequences – talk about the potential risks and negative consequences of gambling, such as addiction and strained relationships.
- Set boundaries – establish clear family rules about gambling, including age restrictions for engaging in different forms of gambling.
- Teach online safety – educate the young person about the risks of online gambling, including the importance of not sharing personal information or engaging in illegal activities.
- Monitor online activities – keep an eye on the young person’s online activities, including their gaming and gambling apps and raise any concerns.
- Talk about advertising – discuss the influence of gambling advertising and its impact on decision making.
- Seek help if needed – if you suspect a young person has a gambling problem, or is at risk, seek professional help from a counsellor or therapist.
Warning signs to look for
What are some of the warning signs that a young person is gaming, gambling or using technology too much? An expert – Brad Marshall, Director of the Screen and Gaming Disorder Clinic, has compiled some common red flags when it comes to teens and kids gaming and using technology.
What difference will the extension of The Dee Why Project have?
The extension of the Dee Why Project will allow The Burdekin Association to expand the reach of our work on gambling and gaming awareness to encompass the entire Northern Beaches region of Sydney. Alongside this, we’re excited to report that a Peer Education Program will be targeted at Year 11 students that will focus on gambling prevention, early intervention, and referral pathways for young people living on the Northern Beaches.
For more information on The Dee Why Project and the Parent Forum on Gaming and Gambling, click here.