Parents of hyperactive kindergarteners, beware! According to researchers from the Université de Montréal in Canada, your inattentive five-year-old may be prone to develop a gambling addiction later in life. And when I say later in life, I mean your child might begin participating in recreational gambling as early as middle school.
The study followed 163 children from kindergarten to sixth grade. Teachers were asked to rate the inattentiveness, distractibility and hyperactivity of their students. Six years later, the same children were interviewed and asked about their gambling behavior, including how often they played cards or bingo, bought lottery tickets, played video games or video poker for money, or placed bets at sports venues or with friends. The researchers found the more impulsive children in kindergarten were 25 percent more likely to engage in gambling activities by the time they turned eleven.
"Our results suggest that behavioral features such as inattentiveness, distractibility, and hyperactivity at school entry represent a vulnerability factor for precocious risk-oriented behavior like gambling in sixth grade," writes lead author Dr. Linda S. Pagani. "It is very plausible that these childhood characteristics snowball into cumulative risks for youngsters who do not eventually outgrow the distractibility and inattentiveness from early childhood and become involved in gambling as a typical pastime for many youth."
To prevent the development of youth gambling, which may lead to a more serious addiction in adulthood, the researchers recommend training children in self-control before they enter the first grade.
My advice to parents: If you catch your elementary or middle school aged child buying lottery tickets or playing video poker, you may want to watch out for a developing gambling problem.
The suggestions made by this study are ridiculously stupid!
More importantly, learning to play cards, even for money, at a young age helps to develop important statistical experience and applications of controlled risk in real life situations.
I played plenty of card games for money as young as 11 years old, and I learned plenty about the inherent risks and different strategies - at a time which I didn't really have money so could only bet small amounts at a time.
Good poker players generally have many other attributes that may be quite useful in the real world, like the ability to read the intent of other players, and understand that others will be trying to deceive you.
Does gambling at a young age contribute to addiction and impairment to gambling later in life?
Probably, but it also can contribute to many other social abilities. The best thing is to provide a controlled environment in which the risks and possible rewards are studied and understood.
The statistical validity of this study aside (which seems to contain a few flaws in experimental design) aside, the implications are not, as you put it, "ridiculously stupid". Gambling addiction is a crippling problem for many that robs them of their time, money, and social lives - one of the most dangerous to fall into. While I do agree that the skills gained from learning to play cards (calculated risk, statistics, probability, etc) are important for children to understand, you have to be careful with children - they are impressionable and what they learn to be accepted behavior during their youth can escalate into problems later on.
The results of this study are not saying that learning to play cards is dangerous. Instead, it looks to predict gambling problems in children from early on. While the behavior of these children at the end of the study does not warrant cause for alarm (I myself played quite a bit of cards at that age), it is important to nip problems in the bud, and that is all this study is aiming for. While playing poker for small amounts of money in middle school is acceptable, it is important to make sure this innocent gaming does not evolve into a debilitating addiction later in life.
Hyperactive babies need their parents to keep watch on them when they are in their crib. Many infant deaths have taken place from restless babies who try and get through the drop side of a baby crib. The hardware, if cheap, loosens and the baby is trapped between the side rails and suffocates. Hyper babies are more prone to this than normal babies. http://www.babycribhaven.com