REACHING GENERATION Y
Teaching youth to take risks wisely
Generation Y has been described as ambitious and materialistic, impulsive, impatient, seeking instant gratification and relying largely on luck – not characteristics associated with wise decision-making.
But luck is really being surrounded by people who care and having the right information to make informed choices in living life responsibly. This is the message that the National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP) is bringing to Generation Y through a series of intervention workshops in Durban, Rustenburg, Witbank and Polokwane entitled “Taking risks wisely”, all aimed at 18 to 35-year olds.
Explaining the reason for the workshops, Ms Nana Magomola, Executive Director of the NRGP explained “without the benefit of age, many young people lack the wisdom that is needed for making risky decisions. Through our series of workshops the NRGP aims to discuss some of the common risks they will encounter in life, to better understand these and equip them in managing life’s choices. Understanding the consequences of choices they make could prevent them from experimenting with drugs, gambling, alcohol or risky sexual behaviour.”
While showcasing the effects of risk-taking in general, the workshops place specific emphasis on gambling and tackles issues of debt and money management, and the fact that excessive gambling does not lead to wealth. Instead it impacts on their health, their jobs, their relationships and financial wellbeing.
In addition to receiving advice from experts and motivational speakers, an interactive play helps the youthful audience to see, through edutainment, why it is important to assess risks carefully. “The workshops deal with concerns regarding financial health and wellness, and emphasises the endless possibilities for youth in our country” Ms Nana Magomola concluded. “Edutainment is a far more effective means to reach Generation Y than preachy lectures.”
A 2004 survey, “A Profile of Youth Gambling in South Africa”, conducted by the University of theWitwatersrand on behalf of the National Gambling Board, confirmed that although casino gambling is rare amongst youth given the controls in place, a fairly large number of young people do gamble, mostly amongst themselves on informal games. This finding is consistent with other local and international research which shows the propensity of adolescents to risk-taking generally, partly because the mechanisms for self-control within the brain are not yet fully developed.
Prevention of problem gambling is the main thrust of the NRGP. This means, in addition to treating people with gambling problems, they also seek to ensure that those who gamble will be able to make fully informed consumer choices by having a good understanding of the dangers involved in gambling and how to avoid them.