Look at the advertisement above. What is this advertisement selling? What makes it so eye catching and appealing? How do the advertisers use colors and the cute characters to appeal to you? And finally, what is the advertisement selling?
This process of looking at advertisements is called “media literacy.” Media literacy is “being able to evaluate and understand advertising.” Prevention staff are educating youth about underage gambling and teaching them to recognize and understand advertising strategies that target young people. Through media literacy, we ask youth to think about advertisements, how companies use advertisements to catch their attention, and what promises advertisers make about their products.
Media literacy training is just one part of a “You(th) Decide” grant that Cortland Prevention Resources (CPR) has received from the New York Council on Problem Gambling to address concerns related to underage gambling. You(th) Decide NY was developed to empower teenaged youth to learn about the dangers of underage gambling and to share that knowledge with their peers, parents and communities.
Other parts of the program include youth led efforts to have community leaders sign resolutions stating their support for gambling free youth and family events and doing outreach about the issues of problem gambling and underage gambling. CPR has recruited ten youth peers who have created a presentation for community leaders, recruited community leaders to sign resolutions, and talked to community leaders about issues related to underage gambling.
So how can our community support efforts to reduce underage gambling?
First, it is important to know some facts about underage gambling. We know that 7% of youth are already at risk of developing or are already having a problem with gambling. Youth experiencing underage gambling are at risk for engaging in theft, becoming anxious or depressed, and have an elevated risk of suicide.
Second, we also know that one of the contributing factors to underage gambling is being exposed to gambling including scratch-off tickets given as gifts, going to bingo or other gambling events with family members, and sports betting. By limiting exposure to these situations, we reduce the risk of underage gambling.
We know that problem gambling is preventable and that our community can prevent underage gambling! There is hope.
Are you interested in learning more about underage gambling or our media literacy program? Are you concerned about a young person in your life? Are you a community leader that would like to sign a resolution showing your support for this program? Please contact Cortland Prevention Resources or call (607) 756-8970 ext 252.