On August 23, St John in the City hosted the Wellington Symposium, which focused on the effect that problem gambling has on the lives of young people. The event attracted a wide range of interested, and industry experts, gambling researchers and young people were in attendance.
Jiroh, 11, and sister Jireh, 12, spoke at the symposium to provide the audience with a look at their experience with problem gambling. Both of their parents are addicted to gambling, and they wanted to ensure that other young people in their situation develop a healthy outlook.
Jiroh read from poem, which pleaded with his parents to stop gambling and to put their children first. He stated that children are the most affected when problem gambling is present in a family, because they are often neglected. As such, they develop feelings of anger and depression.
Their performance at the symposium was inspiring. Gaming industry professionals and researchers that attended gave them a standing ovation, and they now have a better understanding of how children are affected by problem gambling.
“We really really do need to care for our most disadvantaged children,” says Victoria University professor Jonathan Boston. “They are precious, they are vulnerable and they are powerless. If we do not speak on their behalf, then they cannot”.