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Rising cybercrime amongst UK youth « Euro Weekly News | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has reported that one in five children are found to engage in illegal activity online.

A report published on Thursday, February 15, by the NCA revealed that a significant 20 per cent of youngsters aged 10-16 are dabbling in activities that breach the Computer Misuse Act, a legislation that deems unauthorised access to computer systems and data as illegal.

This rate escalates to 25 per cent among those who are involved in gaming, accentuating the need for awareness in the digital age.

Understanding the consequences

The repercussions of infringing the Computer Misuse Act are severe and far-reaching. Offenders risk arrest, being given a criminal record, confiscation of their digital devices, being expelled from educational institutions, and severe restrictions on internet usage, career prospects, and international travel.

From innocent to illegal

Many young individuals start with minor cyber offences without recognising the gravity of their actions. This ignorance can swiftly lead them to engage in more sophisticated and serious criminal activities.

Simple actions such as downloading software to get access to someone else’s device, trying to access a protected server or buying something using the saved card details on someone else’s account are considered illegal, regardless of the offender’s awareness.

A call for guidance

It is imperative for parents and teachers of 10 to 16-year-olds to help them understand the seriousness of these offences and develop their skills in positive ways

Digital skills, including coding, gaming, and cybersecurity, are highly sought after both in the UK and around the world, offering numerous lawful and profitable opportunities.

‘Our message to these teenagers is simple – don’t play games with your future. Whether you engage in this behaviour knowingly or without realising, you are committing an offence – and could face serious consequences for your actions.

‘We’d encourage any concerned parents and teachers to speak to young people with an interest in tech, help them understand the dangers, and highlight the many rewarding and varied careers available to them.

‘Our Cyber Choices team are here to help children, teachers and parents with advice and guidance,’ stated Paul Foster, Deputy Director of the National Cyber Crime Unit at the NCA.

Resources and support

The Cyber Choices team, initiated by the NCA, is a useful source of information, offering extensive resources on the Computer Misuse Act, alongside information on online training, further education, and future career pathways.

This initiative is part of a three-week campaign by the NCA, including video content on Snapchat and YouTube, projected to reach over three million young individuals, aiming to illuminate the path from potential peril to a promising future in the digital realm.

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