This is how kids get into hacking: Study

September 22 2019

Is your kid obsessed with video games and hanging out with questionable friends? Researchers have identified characteristics and gender-specific behaviours in kids that could lead them to become juvenile hackers.

The study found that kids who had mobile phone access early on were more likely to hack -- especially if they lived in larger cities. The researchers also explained the stark differences between boys and girls when it came to hacking.

"We found that predictors of juvenile delinquency, like low self-control are big factors for computer hacking for both boys and girls," said study lead author Thomas Holt from Michigan State University in the US.

"But 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. For boys, we found that time spent watching TV or playing computer games were associated with hacking," Holt added.

For the study published in the journal Crime & Delinquency, the research team assessed responses from 50,000 teens from around the world to determine predictors of hacking.

The study found that spending time with peers was more likely to influence delinquent behaviour for those living in smaller cities.

Besides, having their own bedroom, their own computer or the freedom of doing what they want on the Internet without parental supervision.

The researchers also revealed a connection between pirating movies and music and hacking.

"The initial attempts might not be serious, but without supervision and low self-control, it's likely they got a taste for what they might be able to accomplish by taking their hacking abilities further," Holt said.

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