Youth and Cybercrime: Save your teen from being dragged down to the wrong track

When we say help your child from Cybercrime in teenagers, it is particularly relevant in the context of protecting them from online threats. That could include installing appropriate parental control software on our child's devices to prevent them from approaching any harmful content. It's also a good idea to double-check that they have downloaded an antivirus or security software and that their privacy settings are set correctly.

Suppose, the 'bad person' is a child himself? What then? This is more common than you might imagine, partly as many teenagers are unaware their hidden irrelevant activities (in contrast to ethical hacking) are illegal until they're older.

The good thing is that you still have time to guide your child in the correct direction if you fear they're abusing their technical skills. Moreover, numerous legalized options are available for students to upgrade their skills and practical knowledge about computers and the internet and, eventually, begin a profession in defense.

When hacking is a simple task

While this seems like something out of a Cinema, the reality is far more material. As a matter of fact, as the equipment and tactics involved in committing cybercrime are becoming very affordable and readily available, the school-going hackers are becoming more widespread. Some of the kids have shown remarkable knowledge in computational hacking and threat strategies, in contrast to those who are just fascinated to see how far they can carry out things.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom reported that the information given by National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) revealed that there is a 107% addition to the complaints of students using DDoS assaults within the past few years. According to the latest NCA study, even 9-years old children were detected attempting DDoS assaults, when the typically referred age of the NCCU's "Prevent" unit is 15. Nonetheless, DDoS assaults are not the only way through which minors engage in cybercrime.

Check out the following case:

• Betsy Davies, a seven-year-old London youngster, demonstrated the ways to crack into somebody else’s laptop using insecure local internet networks within ten minutes. But how was she even able to pull it off? By looking for a tutorial on the internet. Eventually, YouTube took down almost 14,000 tutorials.

• A famous case is of a teenager, Elliott Gunton, who was able to hack UK ISP TalkTalk, due to which over 15k client accounts were compromised. Soon after he was imprisoned for various cyber crimes and now has been charged for more severe crimes in the US.

• An unidentified 16-year-old teenager from Australia, got inside Apple's private networks many times, stealing "secured documents" worth 90GB, and gaining entry to user accounts. As per the kid’s counsel, he was very fascinated by the Apple Company and wanted to work for them.

What could be the symptoms that something is not right?

Most things make parents nervous. However, they might be correct in keeping an eye on any differences in their child's attitude when they’ve been involved in some kind of unlawful hacking. The fundamental characteristics related to youth cybercrime were emphasized in a Michigan State University (MSU) study conducted in 2019. Following are just a few of them:

• Self-control issues

• Knowing other youngsters who hack - this is referred to as peer associations (mostly females)

• Time invested in viewing television or in video games on a computer (mostly males)

• Possessing a personal computer and personal space without any parental supervision acts as an opportunity.

• From a young age, having a personal mobile device.

• Piracy of digital content

What are some indications that something is not right?

A few more indicators that your child's online behavior has gotten out of control include, they might sometimes hint at private topics, implying that they read your emails or texts, or they might go to great pains to guard their personal things.

On the other hand, it could simply be a case of a child being a child. Indeed, advanced interest in certain operating systems, like penetration testing software, can be beneficial.

However, as Thomas Holt, primary author of the MSU paper, argues, seemingly harmless 'games' may quickly develop without supervision. What could be the result? Anything like a warning from cops to a penalty, imprisonment, and even detention for genuine crimes, according to the NCA.

Towards the direction of more desirable outcomes

Beforehand, warning indications of youth hacking, like efforts to enter certain cybercrime websites, hacker forums, and various dark corners of social media, can be detected using parental controlled software installed on your children's gadgets. However, if they have a high degree of technological knowledge, they would probably be able to conceal any improper activity.

Finding the right platform for their skills is now more vital. Luckily, there are several options. Few governments sponsor cybersecurity programs for students in elementary and secondary institutes to try, improve, and grow their expertise. The logical next step is to pursue a proficient profession in cybersecurity, coding or reverse engineering. Practitioners can expect a handsome beginning pay and a long satisfying profession as this industry had serious workforce shortages in the past.

Many governments and private hacking contests where anyone may compete against the finest over the globe and display their skills to potential employers.

The most important thing, however, is to maintain open lines of communication. Be curious and engrossed in your child’s interests. If you're worried they're stepping into illegal territory, make them aware of the dangers and steer them toward better and legal options.

Read next: These are the values which should be instilled in children at home, reveals a survey
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