Tech-savvy teens are being urged to make sure their cyber skills don’t get them into trouble.
That’s the message from our experts as they remind computer whizzes to use their skills in coding, gaming, programming and scripting safely, responsibly – or they could find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
This includes gaining access to a friend’s computer without their permission.
Officers have also called on parents to take a keen interest in their child’s digital skills and make sure they understand the real-world consequences their online activities can have.
The messages come as teens continue to spend longer periods of time online during lockdown.
Charlotte Knill, one of the Force’s specialist cyber prevent officers, said: “We know that young people are curious and like to push boundaries while online. They like to explore how things work and many learn skills like coding from online tutorials and forums. It would be great if they could use platforms like the Cyber Security challenge and Over the Wire.
“And while these are great skills to have and in short supply – it is important they learn to use them ethically and responsibly – and understand their actions do come with consequences. Something as simple as gaining access to a friend’s computer without their permission would actually constitute as an offence under the Computer Misuse Act and could have serious repercussions for a young person’s future. We want to make sure everyone is aware of the law so their good intentions and ignorance doesn’t get them into trouble.”
And Northumbria Police are not the only ones encouraging positive cyber choices. Earlier this year, cyber prevent officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit encouraged young people to take part in the Matrix Challenge. This is a national initiative which has been created to help steer young people away from becoming involved in cybercrime and promote positive pathways within the cybersecurity industry. This was an online coding game with over 2700 young people from the region taking part.
For more information visit the National Crime Agency’s website or Get Safe Online.