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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Measuring the online gaming and gambling risk for MN youth

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Thursday, October 26, 2023   

Minnesota announced this week it has joined a multistate lawsuit against Facebook's parent company Meta, over claims of addictive social media features harming teens.

It coincides with growing research about teens and gambling.

Serena King, professor and chair of psychology at Hamline University, has been working with the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling to analyze results from the most recent Minnesota Student Survey while the legal action plays out.

King said there was not much difference between the 2019 survey and the new results from the past year for taking part in gambling. But there was a slight uptick in online participation, a trend worth monitoring.

"I think looking at various new emerging sorts of online gambling is going to be really important in the future," King emphasized.

King was surprised online gambling did not see a major spike during the pandemic, but stressed it does not mean concerns should be ignored, as states like Minnesota keep debating the legalization of internet sports betting. The recent survey added a question about so-called "loot boxes" in video games, and King hopes future efforts have even more specific definitions to get a true sense of young people's online gaming behavior.

King noted establishing more detailed research is important as teens are increasingly exposed to ads for gaming and gambling on their cell phones. And it is not just technology.

"I think we're seeing the emergence of more opportunities around different types of betting, even within youth sports, like tickets and lotteries, raffles," King pointed out.

King explained such activity lends itself to enticing more youth to engage in informal betting. Her research team said examining patterns of early experimentation could help predict problem gambling down the road.

Meanwhile, tech giants like Meta condemn the legal action, saying elected leaders should focus instead on working with companies to adopt age-appropriate standards for certain apps.

Disclosure: The Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Consumer Issues, Mental Health, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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