Irish 14- and 15-year-old students have called for their schools to teach them more about the risks associated with gaming and gambling.
Now, the topics associated with gambling-related harm are set to be introduced to a redeveloped course in Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) available for students from the junior cycle.
Apart from gaming and gambling, and the risks associated with it, young Irish teens are also willing to learn more about vaping, discrimination and racism through the aforementioned SPHE programme that is currently being completed. Sexual consent and pornography are among some other matters being introduced to the course after the competent authorities reviewed the RSE (relationship and sexuality education) covered in these classes.
For the time being, it is the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) that is developing the new junior cycle SPHE curriculum, including the updated RSE content. Changes for students in the primary cycle and Leaving Cert students in Ireland are set to follow. The NCCA published a discussion paper, followed by a consultation with local teachers, students and other experts.
During the consultation, the advisory body sought views on the already existing course of education and asked for suggestions for some more topics to be addressed by the curriculum.
Teenagers’ Online Gambling Participation Rates on the Rise, Report Says
As mentioned above, the consultation with students – mainly ones between 14 and 15 years of age – showed the teenagers’ demand for more information about gaming, gambling and the risks these activities bear.
The interest of Irish students in gambling and gaming has unveiled the necessity to address an issue that has been obviously causing some concern among the age group of young teens. Although no comparable data exists in Ireland, 11% of the children between 11 and 16 years of age in the UK said they had spent money on gambling activities, while 36% revealed they have taken part in gambling in the 12 months preceding the survey.
While the aforementioned figures have remained pretty much unchanged, the trend of the rising interest in online gambling could be worrying, experts say. The widespread ownership of smartphones and other mobile devices, including among teenagers has facilitated the penetration of online gambling in various age groups, especially younger people.
According to a recent study, the online activity of teenagers between 11 and 16 years of age has been primarily on mobile applications, including casino games. The ongoing consultations, as well as the previous NCCA efforts, have shown that both students and teachers in Ireland believe that some topics are being introduced to the SPHE curriculum too late. The addition of the new topics to the course aims to address that.
Teachers, on the other hand, have noted that the redeveloped course should emphasise more on the development of various emotional and social skills over the transmission of information and facts.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.