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Students need to take cybercrime seriously

If you're a parent, there's probably no way you can keep up with everything your child does with a computer these days.

Technology is always changing and it's difficult to understand the basics when you're working a job and dealing with the demands of a growing family. Your kids, however, may have all the time they need to get into major trouble -- without ever leaving their bedroom.

Part of the problem is that juveniles who get involved in cybercrimes often lack the emotional maturity to recognize that they're committing a serious offense -- especially when they view what they're doing as more of a game. There's a challenge, for example, to hacking into the school computer just to change some grades on a transcript -- and that challenge may override both good sense and the knowledge that what they're doing is actually a federal crime that has serious consequences.

Another problem faced by juveniles is that they're susceptible to peer influence in a way that most adults are not. Studies have shown that low self-control and the influence of their peers are the two biggest factors behind cybercrimes committed by juveniles. Essentially, the introverted computer "geek" may impulsively want to show off his or her hacking skills by finding and downloading illegal movie or music files, breaking into the chemistry teacher's computer to get the midterm test questions or creating a fake online account in order to harass a teacher.

All too often, the fact that they aren't harassing someone face-to-face or physically stealing something seems to remove some of the sense of culpability. The same student that wouldn't steal a $10 bill from an open drawer in a teacher's desk wouldn't necessarily hesitate to put a virus out there that will turn that same teacher's $800 computer into a paperweight.

It's important to educate your school age children about what constitutes a cybercrime -- the older the child and the more technologically expert he or she becomes, the greater the urgency.

If your child does make a mistake and crosses a line, it's important to get an attorney who can help you craft a solid defense to a white collar crime charge -- your child's future may depend on it. For information on how our firm may be able to help you, please visit our page.

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