From Deputy Principal – Student & Staff Wellbeing, Mr Patrick Brennan
Teenagers and Gambling
As the football finals come to an end and the spring racing carnival begins, the wellbeing team at the College strategically used this time on the sporting calendar to educate the boys about the growing presence of betting agencies flooding the market and advertising space, enticing Australians to fork out money on gambling.
Australians are the biggest gamblers per capita in the world, spending on average over $1,300 annually on gambling. This figure is increasing each year, fuelled by a 30% growth rate in sports betting, which is particularly attractive to sports-loving adolescents.
In a recent study, three-quarters of children could name a sports betting agency whilst one-quarter could name four or more. That number exceeds the number of alcohol brands named by children, brands that have been around far longer than betting agencies. I spoke at an assembly last week where a Year 8 boy noted that bookmakers had paid out a particular player for the Clive Churchill Medal at half time during the NRL Grand Final. I asked myself, “why is a thirteen-year-old being made aware of this information?”
Betting is normalized in Australian society with events such as the Melbourne Cup and the encouragement of playing two-up on ANZAC Day. This together with the celebrity-led stream of betting advertisements, often during the game, makes our children more likely to be influenced to take up gambling.
The College conducted an IT audit during Week four and noted that 24 students had attempted to access betting sites during the first four periods of the day. Anyone who suggests that this problem does not affect our community is wrong. All boys who were noted attempting to access these sites were provided with counselling from their Heads of House.
During Week 3, mentors were given discussion starters to use with their wellbeing groups around gambling, its normalisation, and its social and economic consequences. At the following House Assembly, boys looked deeper at strategies to avoid crafty advertising tips and tricks to entice young gamblers. Importantly, strategies were also provided should they or one of their friends fall victim to this addiction.
Developing our student’s media literacy enables them to be savvy consumers and pick apart the tricks and tactics used by betting agencies to encourage gambling. Like all wellbeing issues, we aim to provide the boys with the facts, develop their decision-making skills, thus allowing them to make informed decisions about their own health and wellbeing.
It’s is hoped that this article will encourage parents to extend the narrative at home sharing their own stories of friends, acquaintances, and family members who may have had a problem with gambling.
Importantly there is hope as there is professional help available in terms of counselling and gambling support groups.
For further information, please follow the link to healthdirect.gov.au.
Presentation Day 2020
The College would like to extend an invitation to view our Presentation Day events on the 2nd December to help us celebrate our successes in 2020 as a College Community. Due to COVID restrictions, this will be a streamed event for parents at the below link.
Presentation Day is a compulsory event for all students to attend, and attendance rolls will be taken.
Years 5-6 students must arrive at the Junior School for the normal time in their academic uniform (shirt and tie). They will be escorted up to the Senior School for the Presentation. Following the presentation, they will be escorted back to the Junior school for a normal School day.
Years 7-8 students must arrive at school for the normal time wearing the full academic uniform (tie and blazer). Following the presentation, they will be dismissed for the holidays.
Years 9-11 students must arrive at school from 10:30am onwards wearing the full academic uniform (tie and blazer). Following the presentation, they will be dismissed for the holidays.
The Senior Library will be open between 8:30am and 3:15pm for students in years 7-12 who require supervision.