While kids with low self-control, or not having the ability to hold back when opportunity presents itself, are more likely to hack, the ways girls and boys get into hacking could be quite different, says a new study.
“For girls, peer associations mattered more. If she has friends who shoplift or engage in petty forms of crime, she’s more likely to be influenced to hack as well,” said lead study author and cybercrime expert Thomas Holt from Michigan State University in the US.
“For boys, we found that time spent watching TV or playing computer games were associated with hacking,” Holt said.
Holt assessed responses from 50,000 teenagers from around the world to determine predictors of hacking.
He said that some of the findings show how kids are raised within gender roles, such as letting boys play video games and giving girls different activities.
For boys and girls, simply having opportunities to hack were significant in starting such behaviour.
This could include having their own bedroom, their own computer or the freedom of doing what they want on the internet without parental supervision.
While most schools have computer and Internet access, Holt explained that there are still some geographic barriers for kids to enter cybercrime.
The researchers found that kids who had mobile phone access early on were more likely to hack — especially if they lived in larger cities.
Spending time with peers was more likely to influence delinquent behaviour for those living in smaller cities, said the study published in the journal Crime & Delinquency.
The researchers also found a connection between pirating movies and music and hacking.
It’s important for parents to understand their kids’ tech-savviness and habits to help guide them on a path that uses their skills in a more positive way.
“Parents shouldn’t assume that having a kid with sophisticated technological competency is always totally fine,” Holt said. (IANS)