The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s updated Be Ahead of the Game program strengthens our schools-led approach to helping young people understand the risks associated with gambling.
New education resources have been developed in collaboration with Gambler’s Help community engagement staff who deliver the program in local schools and youth organisations. The improved materials have been informed by lessons learned from the 320+ workshops and information sessions run between July 2021 and June 2022. They also reflect the latest research into young people’s participation in, and attitudes towards, gambling, as well as changes in the marketing and technology landscape that are making gambling increasingly visible and accessible to young people.
Parents and carers play a key role
The Foundation’s whole-of-school approach is informed by research, which shows that the greatest influences on a young person’s beliefs and attitudes about gambling are family and friends. In addition to workshops for students from years 7 to 12, Be Ahead of the Game offers information sessions and resources to prepare teachers, parents, and carers to talk to young people about the realities of gambling.
Young people are also influenced by gambling advertising. An article in The Conversation points out that online gambling ads, with their use of laconic, blokey humour and carefully selected celebrities, are skilfully designed to appeal to 18-to-24-year-old men. Young women too are susceptible to gambling ads and represent a growing customer base.
‘Betting ads aim to shape young people’s attitudes toward gambling, perpetuating the notion that gambling is a fun, risk free and normal part of becoming an adult,’ says Foundation CEO Shane Lucas.
‘The Be Ahead of the Game program is an important tool for cutting through the myths and the marketing to give young people the facts about gambling.’
Support young people to think critically about gambling and gaming
Schools and youth organisations can book a free, one-hour Be Ahead of the Game student workshop to be delivered by a local Gambler’s Help community educator.
With engaging discussions and activities designed for all secondary school year levels, the interactive workshops cover gambling, gaming and financial literacy in ways that resonate with young people.
- Know the score helps young people understand the real odds and costs of gambling and bust the myths depicted in gambling ads. Students learn how to recognise the signs of gambling harm and help themselves and others.
- When gaming meets gambling explores the good and the bad of gaming. Students learn about the gambling-like tactics and features used by game designers to entice young people to play longer and spend more. The workshop helps them identify the signs of excessive gaming and gives them tools to help themselves and others.
- Your money matters: financial literacy equips students with the skills to manage their money. The workshop includes information about earning, saving and budgeting, plus lessons about the effects gambling can have on finances.
Teachers can also download curriculum-aligned units of work for years 10 to 12 that help to raise students’ awareness of the risks of gambling in subjects ranging from literacy and numeracy to health and human development.
'As an experienced vocational teacher, the Be Ahead of the Game resources have proven themselves invaluable in offering students engaging and challenging activities around real-life and relevant gambling scenarios. The materials empower students with the knowledge and skills to discuss, collaborate, share opinions and make informed decisions around current gambling trends and issues related to young people.'
James Gray, Head Start Director – Northern Metro Hub
Learn how to talk to young people about gambling and gaming
Schools and community groups can book online information sessions for parents and carers. The free, one-hour sessions are designed to provide parents and carers with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to talk to young people about gambling and gaming. Parents will learn how to identify signs of gambling harm and excessive gaming in young people, and where to find professional help if necessary.
For more information about Be Ahead of the Game, contact:
Senior Prevention Advisor (Education)
Phone: (03) 9452 2623
Or visit www.beaheadofthegame.vic.gov.au