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Decoding How Kids Get Into Hacking

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Children on their computers.

Research from Michigan State University has identified characteristics and gender-specific behaviors in children that could lead them to become juvenile hackers.

Credit: MSU Today

Michigan State University's Thomas Holt has identified the characteristics and gender-specific behavioral patterns that could inspire children to become hackers.

Holt ascertained hacking predictors by gauging responses from 50,000 adolescents worldwide, and learned that juvenile delinquency predictors, such as little self-control, play a major role for hacking in both boys and girls—although peer associations were a larger factor for girls.

Behaviors more likely to inspire boys to be hackers included watching television or playing computer games. Simply having hacking opportunities—like having their own bedroom, their own computer, or the freedom to do what they want online without parental supervision—were significant triggers for both genders.

Holt suggested parents take an interest in their children's computing activities, adding, "Finding others in the field—like those you'd meet in a robotics club or attending something like the DefCon conference—is vital for kids to learn about using their skills in a positive way and for staving off bad behaviors."

From MSU Today
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