During the development of adolescence, young people undergo striking changes in physical and mental growth, which may lead to emotional instability and stress. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), good mental health is related to mental and psychological well-being. People with strong mental health is able to deal with common life stress and it is essential for interpersonal communication, emotion expression, attaining knowledge and enjoyment of life. Whereas people having mental health problems may gradually lead to addictive behavior.
Addictive behavior is defined as long-term over-indulging in certain substances or activities that affects physical and mental health, daily life, learning and interpersonal relationships. The proliferation of internet and smartphones today may magnify the already apparent risk of internet addiction, online gaming or online gambling addiction. Some commonly known causes of online gaming addiction such as not knowing how to deal with stress, avoid facing the reality may gradually affect their daily lives.
Apart from internet or mobile addiction, gambling addiction is another addictive behavior capturing major attention. Any online gaming activities involving money and luck would be defined as gaming with gambling elements. By this definition, commonly found gambling addictive behavior among adolescents includes claw machines, online game items lottery and etc. These may gradually evolve into problem gambling when the addictive behaviors are out of control. People with problem gambling issue would gradually increase wagering amount, feeling uneasy when stop gambling or even relapse.
Addictive behavior will not only resulting in difficulties in financial, physical, mental, family, work and study. It may cause permanent damage to health, falling into fraud cases or even leading to legal consequences. In view of the importance of promoting the physical, psychosocial and mental well-being of youth, the Club and the Hong Kong Children and Youth Services (HKCYS), with the support from Vocational Training Council and HK Education City, jointly launched the "Positive and Healthy Youth Development Programme" in 2020.
Co-organised by the Club and HKCYS in 2020, the “Positive and Healthy Youth Development Programme” aims to nurture the positive and healthy lifestyle of adolescents through various thematic fun-filled games and school-based activities, to raise their awareness of cyber security and cyber traps.
The Programme endeavor to provide preventive education to promote the physical, psychosocial and mental well-being of secondary school and vocational education students. The programme further outreach to at-risk youth and cyber youth through promotion via various online and offline channels. As a comprehensive educational programme, important stakeholders such as parents, teachers and social workers will also form part of the supporting network, to provide assistance to help-seeking youth.
Domain experts from various disciplines, were engaged to share their knowledge through dissemination of the content-rich student booklet. To better fits needs of adolescents, the booklet enlists contents on mental health, cyber citizenship, emotional management, communication skills and how to strengthen resilience. These are all indispensable elements for the growth of adolescents.
Tailor-made school-based activities, such as “Lunch and Learn” sessions, youth supportive groups are arranged at secondary schools and vocational training institutes where special trained social workers and trainers would disseminate useful information and tips on positive psychology, emotional management, as well as harmful impacts of online gambling addiction and pitfalls of illegal online gambling.
A new educational board game co-created by a group of youth and game producer was developed, to promote the importance of critical thinking and fact checking among younger generation. It also helps to reveal the harmful impacts of online gaming addiction and enhance knowledge of gambling myths. The educational board game will be deployed in school-based learning activities and cyber youth outreach activities.
Harnessing the strengths of virtual reality (VR) technology, a new interactive educational games are being developed to enhance the overall learning experience of the adolescents. By configuring the gaming format with youth relevant contents, educational messages are being disseminated to audiences in a fun-filled way.
The content-rich “train-the-trainer” sessions furnish participants with practical information on teen psychology, addictive behavior, stress management, cyber citizenship as well as eSports industry trends. Practical skills and cases were featured inside the sessions to equip participants with the essential knowhow for providing assistance to youth help-seekers.
A comprehensive self-assessment package was tailor-made to conduct early assessment and identify at-risk youth prior to treatment referral. Social workers and counsellors will make use of the package to further enhance adolescents awareness on the risk factors and negative consequences associated with excessive gambling and illegal online gambling.