One of the region’s top cyber cops is urging parents to talk to their teens about the real world dangers of hacking and cybercrime.
The message comes as children and young people continue to spend longer periods of time online - with many using lockdown as an opportunity to hone their digital skills in programming, coding and scripting.
Regional cyber prevent officer Gareth Judd has called on parents to talk to their children about what they are doing online and help them to understand what constitutes as an offence under the Computer Misuse Act (CMA), so they can avoid falling foul of the law.
Gareth, who is based at North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) said: “The Computer Misuse Act might sound like something young people do not need to know anything about, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“We know that there are a lot of very talented coders, gamers and programmers out there who like to push the boundaries and test their skills. Something as simple or as fun as trying to access a friend’s system or kicking them out of a game might seem harmless – but are actually serious offences under the CMA and can have repercussions for a young person’s future.
“Part of my role is to work with teenagers and to encourage them to make the right choices and to explore the online world responsibly, ethically and within the limits of the law. Sometimes ignorance and good intentions online can get people into trouble in the real world.
“The good news is there are so many resources out there which can help young people to enhance their digital skills while learning about the legalities and ethical issues surrounding a particular task.”
It’s not just NERSOU who are involved in this line of work – the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Child Exploitation and Online Protect team (CEOP) have recently joined forces with online company Parent Zone to create a new digital platform packed with help and advice for concerned parents.
Gareth added: “We know that for many parents this is a new and highly technical field of expertise – and unless you are working in the tech industry or have a particular interest in it, chances are your child will probably know more than you do.
“But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn more - these resources are a great place to start and all we are asking is that you talk to your child about their activity and ask them to make positive cyber choices.”
For more information visit https://parentinfo.org/
Or the National Crime Agency’s website and search #CyberChoices.