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Kids and online gambling - a very bad mix

 A word of warning - make sure your kids avoid online gambling or any gambling for that matter. Even though kids (and by kids we mean teenagers) don't engage in online gambling as much as interest-catering media would like you to believe, it does indeed happen. The majority of teenagers gambling online usually choose to play poker, in respect to other forms of Internet gambling, such as casino games and sports betting. The game of poker is in its heights, but it's a social game (i.e. you cannot play alone) and the Internet is the best and fastest mean to connect to literally millions of poker players world-wide. Sports betting and casino games, however, are also sometimes enjoyed by minors. How to prevent your teenager from gambling online? It's really not as hard as you think.

 The financial aspect: Contrary to the popular believe, the online gambling websites have no desire to attract minors. One, it's bad for business, two, it's bad for business. Whenever an anti-online gambling activists talk about the bad side of the industry, gambling by minors is guaranteed to come up. Licensed online gambling websites, such as Bet365 and Sportingbet spend a lot of money addressing the issue of preventing minors from accessing their services. But even with the best systems in place, occasionally a minor could gain access to online gambling websites, it happens even at the land-based casinos. The best way to prevent your teenagers from gambling on the Internet is by closely monitoring their finances. Credit cards are the most common mean of depositing money at Internet gambling websites - keep an eye on any your kids may have. Bank accounts and ACH deposits come as second to credit cards, but those are quite hard to obtain and use at an online casino or betting site.

 Internet use monitoring: Know what your kids are doing on the Internet. Honestly, there are many more dangerous activities for kids on the Internet than gambling. This point should go without saying - make sure you know what your kids are into, when online. Imagine the Internet as a metropolis - there are good neighborhoods and then there are the ghettos. If you don't have the time, there are plenty of software to do the watching for you - from "net nannies", which would allow you to create a list of "banned keywords", to activity loggers, which would enable you to track which websites your kids have been visiting. If you are a single parent with two jobs - take advantage of this software to prevent your kids from gambling online and any other places you don't want them to visit on the net.

 Parenting: There is no substitute for parenting. Take the time and talk to your kids about the dangers of gambling, whether online or off-line, the same way you talk to them about drinking, drugs, smoking, etc. Explain to them the dangers of gambling and make sure they stray away from online gambling, at least until they become informed adults and could do so in moderation and for fun. 

 Published on 07/13/2008

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