Montreal, November 5th, 2004 - After four years of research and development, McGill’s International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors is releasing two interactive CD-ROM programs, The Amazing Château for primary school students (grades 4-6) and Hooked City for secondary school students (grades 7-11). These programs, accompanied by a teacher’s manual, will be distributed to all schools throughout the province as part of Quebec’s Action Plan on Pathological Gambling for 2002-2005.
“Our research has shown that kids can get hooked to gambling and that the consequences are serious. Depression, anxiety, problems with family and peers, academic difficulties, substance use, as well as problems with the law are just some difficulties associated with problematic gambling. This new prevention resource will help children and adolescents learn about the facts of gambling and help them make healthier choices,” says Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, Co-Director of the Centre.
With the popularity and expansion of gambling, we have seen an increase in participation among adolescents, according to Dr. Derevensky. Recent research suggests that 70-80% of adolescents report having gambled for money in the past year, approximately 30% report gambling on a weekly basis, and problem gamblers report beginning gambling during childhood, ages 9-10. While school-based prevention programs exist, warning youth about the dangers associated with smoking, alcohol use and substance abuse, few programs have been developed and implemented for the prevention of gambling problems.
Both levels of the program have been evaluated to ensure that no harmful gambling behaviours were acquired by participants. After following children for several months, the program was found to be effective in a number of areas related to preventing problem gambling. For example, student’s knowledge concerning youth gambling problems increased and distorted beliefs about gambling decreased.
For more information visit our website at www.youthgambling.com or contact:
Carmen Messerlian, Director of Program Development and Communication, International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors, McGill University, 398-4438, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Youth Gambling International