VRGF Initiative Teaches Parents To Recognise Gambling Warning Signs

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF)has launched a gambling program designed to teach parents to recognise the warning signs of dangerous gaming in children. A Victorian Parliament law created the VRGF in 2011. Its board members are accountable to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation.

The goal was to address gambling issues and reduce harm created by gambling through community work. The foundation also works with the government to implement evidence-based initiatives and new ways to prevent gambling harm. As well as provide support for those seeking help through awareness campaigns and working with those especially impacted by gambling.

The latest strategic plan, set up for the 2018-2021 era, uses its partnerships to build a collaborative and respected platform of expertise. The top focus is to prevent gambling harm through a public health approach, all in the name of improving community health.

Recently, it rolled out a pilot gambling program at 12 schools in Victoria. The goal is to inform parents about gaming and gambling, specifically the potential harms and risks associated with it.

Gambling Program Educating Parents

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation partnered with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to launch its pilot gambling program to parents during the last week of March. Moreover, the gambling program targets parents of children aged 12 to 17 at metro and regional schools. Its aim is to increase awareness of the slippery slope that can result from gaming turning into gambling.

Parents are then informed about all relevant gambling issues; from gaming lingo to features included in some games, like loot boxes. Other key points of the discussions include how to follow the gaming world to keep up with the ever-changing technology. And how to separate fun gaming from risky behavior.

– Informing Parents

The main focus of the gambling program is to inform parents and teach them how to talk to their children about gambling. Some parents may want to limit their children’s time with gaming or certain games. Others, by contrast, may try the conversational method first with the goal of informed kids making smarter decisions.

As noted by Minister Marlene Kairouz of Consumer Affairs, Gaming, and Liquor Regulation, “The evidence is clear that gaming and gambling can have a devastating impact on young people. This is about giving parents practical steps to help their kids have a positive gaming experience, and our kids need to be aware of the potential harms and risks associated with online gaming.”

Foundation executive Shane Lucas reiterated, “Attitudes to gambling begin to form long before adulthood, which is why it’s so important that parents are equipped to talk to young people about their online activities, including the risks and potential harms associated with gambling.”

Based on Research

A recent Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation study completed in September 2018 focused on gambling online with regard to children and adolescents. Daniel L. King of the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology gathered its contents.

Ultimately, the study found that young audiences are exposed to gambling and associated products via a range of digital media channels. These therefore provide new forms of access to gambling and ways for those activities to affect kids of all ages. But especially those from 13-17 years of age.

In addition, gambling is being normalized in Australian society through social casino games and gambling promotions in social media outlets. And the monetization of virtual goods in relation to esports and online game streaming is more widespread today. Young people also have more entry points and exposure to gambling products via online devices and data sharing.

Under New Leadership

The latest project for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation comes under the newest addition to the group’s leadership. Shane Lucas took the position of Chief Executive Office just last month after a search began in November 2018.

Lucas recently served as CEO of education charity at Early Learning Association Australia from 2013 to 2017. His last position, however, was as a full-time member of the Australian government’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal. He had served in the public and private sector. Minister Kairouz subsequently took note of his “strong track record of program delivery, establishing innovative partnerships and developing strong stakeholder relationships.”

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