The recent report of the murder of a school boy, possibly because of cricket betting, should be a serious warning for parents, teachers and Police (SOM dated May 22).
The madness for cricket in India is well-known. However, what is not known to many is teenagers easily shift from cricket for fun to investing money for winning or losing for the match they play. They build teams in their area or schools easily. Then they play across different areas for higher money. This temptation is just what is needed for now widely prevalent online cricket betting. It peaks during IPL or any cricket series.
The mobile phone has now made things easy and yet secretive. There might be big organised network of betting or small localised cell with just a few people. There could be good number of “friends giving or receiving network” to help sustain the activity.
There are also protectors and assaulters, “the Annas” who start to play role in “relationship” issue just like they play role in cricket betting. All that is needed for impulsive-carefree-child is to invest 5-10 rupees every day, which is so affordable these days for all class of children. Nothing much is visible for parents or teachers except that their ward is “decent.”
Only when clashes break out near the school or tuition centres some smoke appears then but nobody knows how deep the problem is. It could be somebody who has taken “too much money” or stopped betting, it is then the worst thing starts unfolding and tragedy can be what has been reported in newspaper.
Hence it is important that parents keep strict vigil of money they give their child even if it is few rupees 10s; ask for receipt or some kind of proof of utility. Parents should keep count of money at home; some simply don’t keep stock of currency below 50s. Educate your child well, don’t hesitate to talk about betting and consequences possible, even when you think they are still very young.
The teachers are next to parents; they may catch the boys early and warn them, especially when they are bringing unaccounted money or missing classes or seen with older boys or outsiders more commonly in and around the schools.
The Police personnel have a tough time to tackle betting among children as parents and schools tend to keep everything secretive because of the shame it can bring. But may be the Police can create wider awareness by collaborating with the Education Department and institutions.
Unless we all join hands to help children early we may have to see more of such preventable loss of precious young lives.
– Dr. M. Kishor, Mysuru, 23.5.2017