Are We Raising Future Riverboat Gamblers in Cyberspace?
Gambling is thriving in the Internet arena,
even while facing strict governmental controls elsewhere. (It's illegal to use financial institutions to gamble online.)
Most of the gambling sites are hosted offshore, which makes law enforcement
more difficult. Many require prepayment in the form of credit
card advances, debit card advances, or wired funds. A simple search on
any of the search engines will result in thousands of gambling sites.
And your teenager’s money is as good as anyone else’s.
Frankly, I was surprised that kids are using the gambling sites as
much as they reportedly are. But with more and more children having
their own credit card on our accounts for emergency purposes, as well
as generous allowances and access to savings accounts that hold their
birthday cash, baby-sitting earnings, and paper route money gathered
over the years, it’s apparently easier than ever for them to gamble it
Sometimes they’ll even use our credit card and hope we don’t notice
when the statement arrives. (And, surprisingly enough, we often don’t.)
What Can You Do About It?
Keep an eye on your credit card statements and on your children’s
savings account balances. Blocking their ability to send out credit card
information over the Internet might make it harder for them to gamble
online. (Some of the filtering products allow you to block certain outgoing
information.) In addition, if the computer is centrally located
under your watchful eyes, you may be able to keep them off of the
gambling sites entirely.
Let them also know that many of the gambling sites are scams, and many hold on to your winnings under the guise of international currency laws.
Gambling online is a no-win game for children and teens.