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How the Internet Easily Tempts Teens Into Digital Piracy, Porn and Hacking

A new study outlines how the internet blurs normal social boundaries among young users, leading many teens to be tempted into behviors they wouldn’t even consider in the real world.

Professor Andrew Goldsmith from Flinders University says illegal online activity is especially attractive for adolescents already prone to curiosity and sneaky thrill seeking, but the internet encourages new levels of experimentation which are easily accessible.

For the study, the researchers analyzed existing links between legal online activities and cybercrime — for example, how viewing online pornography progresses to opening illegal content and how motivations evolve from online gaming to hacking.

“The internet allows young people to limit their social involvement exclusively to particular associations or networks, as part of a trend we’ve termed ‘digital drift’. From a regulatory perspective, we’re finding this poses significant challenges as it degrades young people’s impulse controls,” said Goldsmith.

“It’s becoming increasingly important to understand the connection between young people’s emotional drivers and committing crimes, as well as human-computer interactions to establish why the internet easily tempts young users into digital piracy, pornography and hacking.”

“We’re using the word seduction to describe the processes and features intrinsic to the online environment that make online activity both attractive and compelling.”

“For some young people, the Internet is like a seductive swamp, very appealing to enter, but very sticky and difficult to get out of,” he said.

Goldsmith says there needs to be a deeper understanding of the influential technologies regularly used by young people, recognizing that not all motivations for wrongdoing indicate a deep criminal pathology or criminal commitment.

“Policy should consist of interventions that take into account the lack of worldly experience amongst many young offenders. Online technologies render the challenge of weighing up potential risks and harms from actions even harder. A propensity for thrill-seeking common especially among young males encouraged by the Internet can create a form of short-sightedness towards consequences.”

“Effective government responses must reflect on the range of motivations young people bring to, and find in, their online behaviours, not least of all in order to garner support amongst young people when it comes to effective regulatory changes.”

The findings are published in the journal European Society of Criminology.

Source: Flinders University

How the Internet Easily Tempts Teens Into Digital Piracy, Porn and Hacking

Traci Pedersen

Traci Pedersen is a professional writer with over a decade of experience. Her work consists of writing for both print and online publishers in a variety of genres including science chapter books, college and career articles, and elementary school curriculum.

APA Reference
Pedersen, T. (2020). How the Internet Easily Tempts Teens Into Digital Piracy, Porn and Hacking. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 9, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2020/01/31/how-the-internet-easily-tempts-teens-into-digital-piracy-porn-and-hacking/153631.html
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 31 Jan 2020 (Originally: 31 Jan 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 31 Jan 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.