The educational project „Browsing safely”, implemented by the Responsible Gambling Association, has reached more than 3000 pupils in Sector 2 and 1000 parents of teenagers

Thursday, 23 November 2023

Between August and October 2023, in schools and high schools in Sector 2, Bucharest, the Responsible Gambling Association ran the educational project „Browsing safely: Preventing gambling addiction, technology and fighting bullying for young people”, a project carried out with the support of the Sector 2 School Inspectorate and co-financed by the Municipality of Sector 2.

The whole approach was aimed at pupils from schools and high schools in Sector 2, parents, teachers and specialists in the field of education. It also included 100 counseling sessions for at least 2500 students in grades VII, VIII, IX, X from schools and high schools in Sector 2 of Bucharest and 10 conferences held by Dr. Cristian Andrei for 1000 parents and teachers.

The pupil counseling sessions were supported by a team of 14 psychologists, educators and coaches from the Responsible Gambling Association who addressed the topics of technology addiction, gambling and anti-bullying, offering strategies and solutions to help children and teens navigate the digital world safely.

The target set in the project – at least 2500 partici­pating pupils – was reached and even exceeded. There were 110 counselling sessions with more than 3000 pupils in 150 classes from 20 schools and ten conferences attended by about 1000 parents and teachers.

Ovidiu Iosif, Executive Director of the Responsible Gambling Association

Parents and pupils are the most interested in preventing technology addiction

„This is the first major project undertaken by the Responsible Gambling Association that goes beyond gambling addiction. In addition, we have a theme related to gambling addiction, technology addiction, and the theme of bullying has been addressed following the consultations we had at the level of the School Inspectorate of Sector 2 and the need felt in the educational institutions of the sector to address this issue. The project was conceived on the basis of the know-how that we have acquired during the more than six years that we have been visiting high schools with the educational programme „Trained when Coming of Age”, dedicated to the prevention of gambling addiction. It is also a milestone for us because it is the first time that we are addressing on a large scale an issue related to gambling addiction, addiction to technology, but also the fight against bullying in schools,” said Ovidiu Iosif, Executive Director of the Responsible Gambling Association.

Interestingly, according to the feedback received from the parents who participated in the project, at the end of the discussion sessions with Dr. Cristian Andrei, they responded that the issues that concern them most in terms of their children’s development are their children’s addiction to technology (65.5% of respondents), followed by the phenomenon of bullying (50%), the environment (46.6%) and exposure to drugs (43.1%). Gambling addiction is an issue that worries only 15% of parents.

The same information can be seen from the topics chosen for discussion in class. A pupil counseling session within the project involved choosing one of the three topics covered in the project, with the choice being made by the principal, parents, or pupils. 56% of the pupils enrolled in the project participated in the technology addiction prevention sessions, 32% in the anti-bullying sessions, and 11% in the gambling addiction prevention sessions.

Positive feedback from parents and pupils

„I found myself in the topics discussed. Everything was explained rationally, deductively and with concrete examples…from the most suggestive ones. And Dr. Cristian Andrei’s challenge to try to put ourselves in the children’s shoes, to understand the source of addiction of any kind, but also the mistakes that teenagers end up making just out of the need to be validated by their circle of friends, seemed to me a fantastic exercise. Thank you for the invitation!”, is just one of the many messages sent to the Responsible Gambling Association by parents who attended the debate sessions with Dr Cristian Andrei.

„We need to address these issues and have a frank, open approach to all topics, including those that some consider taboo. We have always been very transparent, as evidenced by the fact that course materials, conferences, and every­thing that has been done in the project is available to anyone on the project website. Thus, any man of faith in this country who has an elementary level of education on this subject will understand the sincerity of our approach. Our recommendation to ensure the success of a pro­ject of this scale is to build partnerships between government, NGOs and civil society,” said Ovidiu Iosif, Executive Director of the Responsible Gambling Association.

„The trainer was professional and friendly, and managed to explain both the dangers of gambling addiction and ways to get rid of it in an under­standable way. The course was more than useful in giving the pupils material to visualize. I learned a lot of new things about addictions, bullying, emotional state control, empathy, and collegiality. I think events like this should be held in as many high schools and schools across the country as possible because they are informative and give pupils a deeper insight into what the dangers of addiction really are,” is one of the hundreds of positive feedback pupils have given after atten­ding sessions on gambling addiction preven­tion, technology or anti-bullying.

Dr Cristian Andrei

Dr. Cristian Andrei: „We don’t go to schools to scare teenagers, we don’t even mention the phrase «gambling», we talk to them about life and risks”

In conclusion, Dr. Cristian Andrei has a very im­por­tant message for the general public regarding the gambling addiction prevention programs that the Responsible Gambling Association runs in schools: „We don’t go to high schools to scare teenagers with health problems, premature death, failure, but we start with a discussion based on the teenager’s values. We don’t even mention the word «gambling» in our discussions, but we talk to them about luck, good luck in school, in exams, in their personal lives. And from there we start to understand luck, what it is, how to manage it, and ultimately how they can shape their lives and what the risks are. We are talking about factors that, if unhealthy, can lead to excesses such as getting addicted to gambling.“



Author: Editor

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