Parents: Dealing With Youth and Risky Behavior

Many parents aren’t aware that youth gambling is often connected with alcohol use, marijuana use, and other drug use.

  • More than half of Oregon teens have gambled. They prefer games like betting on sports teams, skill games and cards.
  • Teens who gamble are more likely to use alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. 
  • Over half of youth surveyed believe that gambling can become a problem for young people.
  • More than 9 in 10 teens believe that gambling problems can be prevented through education and awareness                                                              

Parents: Facts on Teen Drug Use – information to help you talk with your teens about drugs and their effects, and learn where to go to get help

Resources to help you start—and keep up—the conversation about the dangers of drinkingalcohol and using other drugs at a young age.

 Supporting Your Teens Mental Health                                                                                                                         

 The teen years are a critical period for developing and maintaining social and emotional health. To learn more about how to talk with your youth visit:

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry resource center provides information and links of a variety of mental health issues affecting youth:


 Teen Gambling? Have the Conversation                                                                                                                              

All of the following tips go together. They each build upon one another. As you learn and apply these tips,you’ll be surprised at how problem gambling and other topics fit together really well in conversation.

Live by example.

  • Remember that, whatever it is we are doing, kids watch what we
  • Parental gambling is a major risk factor for youth problem gambling. Make sure what you’re doing is modeling healthy behavior. 
  • Avoid emphasizing money or winning
Be aware of the risks.
  • Share with kids that gambling isn’t risk-free. It’s not something that is a “healthy alternative” to alcohol ordrug
  • Even though most kids will never go on to develop a gambling problem, research shows that the earlier in life someone places a bet, the more likely s/he is to develop a gambling problem later in life.

Talk About It

  • It doesn’t need to be its own long lecture — while you’re talking about the risks of alcohol and drugs, include gambling. Gambling can be just as
  • Learn the odds and talk about It’s great math practice!
  • If you see an ad for a casino, talk about that ad with your child. Ask him what he thinks about what the ad’s trying to tell him. Talk to her about ways that advertisers try to pull us in.
  • Talk about the odds being lousy (you don’t need to know exact statistics, but it’s safe to say the odds are lousy!).

Keep talking! Like alcohol and drugs, it isn’t one conversation that does the trick. Bring it up in casual conversation and keep talking.


Talking to Your Teen About Video Gaming

Parental controls over gaming sites and length of play are a great tool, but they’re no substitute

for talking to your kids about:

  • what games and apps they are playing or using
  • what your family has decided is okay. Are there limits on what they can play, or when and how long they can play?
  • who it’s okay to play games with online
  • why it’s important not to share personal information, like their address, school, or plans for the weekend
  • how to deal with inappropriate online behavior by another player. You may be able to block the player, or notify a game’s publisher or online service.

Another good idea: keep your computer or game system in a common area. That opens the door to ask questions andhave conversations on the spot.

 More Information

Healthier Gaming: 5 Tips for Parents of Teens


FTC website for parents interesting in learning more about youth gaming


Entertainment Software Rating Board information and tips for parents


Is Video Game Addiction Real? 2021 WebMD article information and illustrations of how gambling affects the brain


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry article on youth brain development andrisky behaviors

National Institute on Drug Abuse information on adolescent brain development and substanceuse

National Institute for Mental Health information on youth brain development

Brain Connection (CA) video on gambling and the brain (2020):