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Criminal activity, computers, and kids: What should parents know?

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Parents have many things to worry about when raising children: that they could fall off a bike and get injured, that they are not advancing academically, that they are not making the right types of friends. These worries have spanned for generations, but parents nowadays have a relatively new concern: computer use.

The concerns with computer use are many and range from frequency of use to type of use. Although it is important to point out the many benefits, including academic, that computers bring to this generation of children it is also important to be aware of the risks. When it comes to type of use, a relatively innocent conversation or search could escalate into something of serious risk. In some cases, it could even result in allegations of criminal activity.

With that in mind, the following will dive into some of the main points we should know as we navigate conversations with our children about how they use their computers.

#1: We are already ahead of our parents.

The majority of parents today grew up with computers. Most of us are likely already aware of the benefits and risks and may even have some ideas of warning signs. Begin by taking a breath and knowing that our experience as children is more than our parents had when they were going through this stage of parenting.

#2: Open conversations with our children are important.

Experts encourage parents to have open conversations with their children about expectations, including expectations around computer use. This can include a discussion of the possible repercussions that come with misuse, ranging from parental punishment to the dangers of possible legal ramifications.

#3: Misuse can result in criminal charges.

Kids will be kids and mistakes will be made, but that does not mean they are free from the potential of criminal charges. Even the federal court system has dug into the issue and has multiple publications that explain instances when computer use by juveniles is of concern and crosses the line into illegal behavior.

Whether viewing inappropriate material or hacking into another’s device just to see if they can, these activities can result in criminal charges even for those under the age of 18. It is important to take the time to talk about this reality with children so that they know the issue is serious.