Monday, 20 Aug, 2007 Technology

Young hackers are just curious


Most teenagers hacking and invading computer systems are doing it for fun rather than to cause harm, psychologists say.

Shirley McGuire, a specialist in psychology of the University of San Francisco says that very often parents do not understand the motivation of the teenagers who commit computer crimes. In an anonymous experiment, she questioned more than 4,800 students in San Diego area to find out the truth about teenager's computer hacking.

The findings were uncovered at the American Psychological Association conference this weekend. The results showed that 38 percent of youngsters were involved in software piracy, 18 percent of all teenagers admitted to enter other personal computer or website and used the material from that site. As much as 13 percent of all the respondents said they made changes in computer systems or computer files.

However, only one out of ten the hackers indeed were interested to cause harm or earn money. Most of teenagers did it to see what will happen and thought of it just as an exciting experience.

Nancy Willard, specialist of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use said that internet has a lot of challenges many teenagers face and their natural motivation is to prove they can do it too. Very often, youngsters who enter online support communities, are tempted to show-off and hack together, committing computer crimes without thinking that it can cause serious financial damage.

Experts say that parents and teachers should be more aware of this fact and guide tech children to more positive objectives, like engaging in different computer activities that would be rewarded.

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