It has been reported that more and more teenagers are involved in gambling in our city. Why so? What will be the negative impact if the trend prevails and what should be done to turn the situation around? Write a letter to the editor to voice your views.
According to a recent research, there are more and more teenagers involved in gambling in Hong Kong. This issue is not something to be taken lightly since teenagers are our future pillars who can influence the whole society positively or negatively. It is high time we dug into the problem before it becomes irreparable.
To begin with, youngsters are not born with gambling ability, which means there must be some incentives driving them to gamble. In fact, parents and the media are the main culprits who I would like to blame. Actually it is not uncommon to see parents holding cards or newspapers in front of the TV, shouting for certain numbers or names. Yes, they are Mark Six and horse racing. As parents are acting with excitement, teenagers are under a mistaken notion that gambling is a kind of entertainment. Also, the actors often play Mahjong and poker in dramas, inculcating more ways of gambling to the adolescents. The concept of earning money by gambling is a wrong message given to them as well. If teenagers grow up in such an unfavourable environment, they will go astray easily.
Gambling can bring serious and far-reaching impacts if the teenage gambling issue is not tackled as soon as possible. The negative impacts can be divided into three aspects, individual, family and society. First of all, gambling will make one addicted. People tend to try one more time if they failed before. Teenagers are still at the stage of busying with studies and it can be detrimental to their studying path. Besides, most of the youngsters are still getting pocket money from parents. Gambling requires money to be the stake and it will probably lead to financial problems, which means the burden will be transmitted to their families eventually. With greater financial pressure, there will be a higher risk of family conflicts, leading to more crimes, such as domestic violence. It will then escalate to a social problem, arousing much social concern. Therefore, gambling is an issue having a ripple effect on various aspects and there is no other measure but cooperation between different parties in solving the problem.
In a bid to turn the situation around, there should be government – media cooperation and parent – school cooperation. The government, being the most powerful party in society, should take action to discourage gambling, for example, putting up posters with discouraging messages in front of the Jockey Club. It can also design advertisements and hold publicity campaigns with the media, showing the negative impacts brought by gambling to public. It will be useful to put some on TV and magazines which teenagers love to watch and read as well. It is always very important to mention the disadvantages of gambling to create a threatening effect.
Apart from the government – media cooperation, parent – school cooperation is also a proper measure. Parents must notice that they should be the role models of their children. Whatever they do, their children will follow suit. They are expected to behave well and help teenagers build up good habits. Moreover, parents should keep a close watch on children to see whether they behave abnormally. If they do, it is time for the parents and schools to cooperate. School is always a crucial area, nurturing the young ones day by day. It should not only promote the disadvantages on gambling, but also distribute questionnaires and have researches on the teenage gambling issue. Of course, the research results should be shown to parents and thus teachers and parents can join hands to have it addressed.
To conclude, the whole society will only suffer in the long run if we overlook the teenage gambling issue. Only by stepping up the efforts of all sides to contain the problem can our future pillars find their correct path.
Ho On Ki Angel