Youth Affairs Committee to focus on anti gambling among adolescents

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Issue 658, Page 3
Word count: 479
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Youth Affairs Committee is going to set up a special group to work on anti-gambling issues among the local adolescents.

The plan was confirmed in yesterday’s first 2009 plenary meeting chaired by deputy chairman Sou Chio Fai, also the director of the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ).

In the post-meeting press conference DSEJ spokeswoman Wong Hong said that a group to prevent and fight against gambling among young people will be installed.

The team will be formed by government departments and community organisations, including DSEJ, Social Welfare Bureau, Sheng Kung Hui Macau Social Services Centre, Yat On Centre and the Industrial Evangelistic Fellowship’s Rehabilitation Centre for Problem Gamblers.

Wong said the cooperation is to push forward 20 plans set for the “Youth Services Blueprint in the Gaming Area” through research, data analysis, providing advice and also maintaining communications with public departments.

The suggestions include minimising gaming facilities from penetrating into the community, improve and expand youth recreational facilities, encourage gaming enterprises to perform corporate social responsibility, and set up a group to review youth development-related regulations.

In addition, organising anti-gambling services course, setting up a professional support work force and a problem gamblers central database, as well as implementing six urgently needed community services are also included.

However, the DSEJ spokeswoman added that concrete measures in relation to the plans will only be outlined after the special anti-gambling work group is formally established.

The first meeting of the group will be scheduled by convener Leong Sut Ian who is also the chief of the DSEJ Moral Education Centre.

Meanwhile, the plenary meeting also invited chief of the counselling service for problem gamblers at the Sheng Kung Hui Macau Social Services Centre, Lee Wai Wah Seiko, to present the preliminary report for the Macao Youth Indicators 2008 Survey.

The DSEJ spokeswoman said the survey was a way to continuously understand the current conditions of local adolescents aged from 13 to 29.

The data, concerning seven areas and 36 indicators, will be used as a reference for making youth affairs policies.

Areas investigated in the previous surveys included respondents’ civic duties and social participation, life values, and consumption and living standards, juvenile crimes and misbehaviours, as well as the correlation between social environment and youth development.

The DSEJ did not disclose the findings of the 2008 survey at the press conference yesterday, but said that the report will be released on its homepage at a later time.

On the other hand, the DSEJ had commissioned the Chinese University of Hong Kong to investigate the dietary habits of young students in Macau.

Wong said the preliminary report has been completed and will show information such as how often teenagers eat at homes.

Also, some members of the Youth Affairs Committee suggested in the meeting that they should find out what kind of content adolescents are looking at when going online.

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