Cybercrime and Ethics among Kids and Teens. Study on top four countries in Cybercrime

Scientific Essay, 2018

26 Pages, Grade: 2.5



Cyberbullying, cyber extortion, cyber trafficking and cyber theft are some examples of rising cybercrimes across the globe. Although Titan rain, Epsilon, Estonian cyber war and Sony are few of the biggest cybercrimes in history but here I have discussed cybercrime related to kids and teens. In 1983, a nineteen-year-old UCLA student used his PC to break into a Defence Department International Communications system [2].

In August 2010 the International Investigation Operation Delego, operating under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security, shut down the international pedophile ring Dreamboard. The website had approximately 600 members, and may have distributed up to 123 terabytes of child pornography (roughly equivalent to 16,000 DVDs). To date this is the single largest U.S. prosecution of an international child pornography ring; 52 arrests were made worldwide [2].

The above two are examples of rising cybercrimes against and committed by kids and teens. Here I have discussed cybercrime cases in USA, China, Brazil, and India with reference to kids and teens. The countries have been chosen as per Cybercrime 2016 statistics on twenty countries [26]. Also the impact of cybercrimes on these young minds have been disclosed. The need to educate kids and teens on cyber ethics and impact of cybercrimes has been stated. Also how to do the same has also been specified here. A five step wise model has been suggested to be followed while educating and building cyber ethics among kids and teens.


Crimes committed using computers or internet to harm systems, organizations or people are called cybercrimes. The more technology is being used by the people and for the people, crimes related to it is also increasing drastically. Ninety-two percent of teens report going online at least once a day, and 56 percent admit they go online "several times" a day which means only 8 percent of teens are able to resist going online every day [20]. Cybercrime is now the biggest threat facing businesses and it is more crucial than ever for companies to understand the processes and motivation behind hacking [22].

In India alone one cybercrime case was reported every ten minutes in the first six months in 2017. The ease of availability of resources post cloud computing has made cybercrime easier. According to Huffington, seventy-one percent of teens say they use more than one of the following social networks: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine and Tumblr. There are more than 50% Facebook users who are below 13 years of age. Surprisingly girls are surpassing boys in using visual social media platforms. The recent Facebook data breach where Indian users top the list with 250 million user accounts on Facebook and Germany has 30 million users on Facebook are concerned about leak of private data of its users via Facebook platform. This is one of the biggest data theft and data loss in recent years.

States where violence and crime are more experience more Internet crimes against children as compared to states who experience less violence and crime in physical world. Figure 5 shows California State having highest crime rate against children and North Dakota State having least Internet crimes. The reasons behind this can be diversified and may be related to education, awareness, laws, mental illness, friends and family. While every US state has an anti-bullying law, not every state includes cyberbullying and electronic harassment as part of that law and similarly, not every state imposes criminal or school sanctions for students charged with cyberbullying or harassment [18].

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Figure 1: State with lowest Internet Crime and highest Internet Crime in US [18]

Figure 1 shows that California has highest internet crime but surprisingly this state doesn’t have lowest state education, highest youth mental illness or either lowest cyberbullying protection through state laws. So it can be inferred that Internet crime cannot be directly related to education or mental illness. These crimes might either be due to unawareness about internet crimes or intentionally done internet crimes for money and other objectives.

Hacking, cyber bullying, spamming, identity theft, child pornography, cyber stalking, phishing, and ransomware are some examples of cybercrime. With growing popularity of internet and globalization, cases of cybercrime are increasing worldwide. Increasing cybercrime cases among teens is the biggest hurdle for Digital India. The vulnerable teens don’t even realize that they are being targeted or they are targeting without realization of consequences. Comparing the statistics given in figure 1, it is seen that the cybercrime rate has increased by almost 2867% in 2015 as compared to 2011.

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Figure 2: Rising cases of Cybercrime cases in India (Adapted from Assocham-Mahindra SSG Report, Jan 2015)

The above figure clearly indicates the exponential rise in cybercrime in India. The steep rise in graph is alarming. Moreover Uttar Pradesh (UP) state of India tops the cybercrime index as per figure 3.

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Figure 3: Motives of cybercrime and profile of cybercrime accused (Adapted from NCRB Report 2016)

Figure 3 clearly lists out motives behind these crimes. Here financial gain tops the list making cybercrime second most reported crime by Global Economic Crime survey 2016. Other than using internet for business and educational purposes, it is being used to mistreat kids and teens. They are often harassed or exposed to pornography online which leaves a deep impact on their minds. Due to early introduction of technology and exposure to online world, hacking is gaining interest and popularity among teens. With information on hacking available via YouTube videos even kids as young as seven years are well aware about it. This awareness and curiosity without knowledge on cyber ethics is leading kids and teens into trouble.

When it comes to cybercrime in China, it is assumed that their focus might be hacking websites or data theft of other countries but Chinese cybercrime is motivated by financial gains. In China frauds that are directed to mobile and online devices are increasing where Online beauty or popularity prize contests (usually for children) with repeated “reloads” of victims to pay the fraudsters for “votes,” with the victim failing to win the promised prize [28] being an important aspect other than fraudulent website to buy entertainment tickets, online theft of SIMs information and messages for extracting transaction details and targeting government systems to modify or tamper data related to bank records, crime records or penalty. The penalties for cybercrime under Chinese law have been relatively lenient, according to Cai: Imprisonment up to three years, extended in 2015 to five years, although longer for more serious crimes, but in reality the sentences never reach that [29]. Chinese citizens are also victims of cybercrime as their punishments are lenient and person with physical disability have different codes of applicable laws and they are increasing in number.

These trends and others have been revealed in a new analysis by Dr Tianji Cai from the Department of Sociology at the University of Macau [29].

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Figure 4: Cyber Bullying and its link with suicide [17]

As per numbers shown in the above figure, 69% of teens own computer, cell phone and use social media and an average teen sends 60 text messages a day. Surprisingly, girls outnumber boys in sending texts and over 81% of teens admit that online bullying is easier to get over. As only one in every five cases are reported which might be instigating thought of suicide among kids and teens.

Brazil ranks almost second highest in online banking frauds and malicious financial malware. It is also the largest cybercrime generator in Latin America and third across the world. This is because of lack of security awareness and cybercrime laws. The criminals frequently only face house arrests or small fines [35]. The graphic shown in figure below represents statistics on 33 Brazilian organization highlighting root cause of Cybercrimes. Malicious attacks top the list with 40 percent, while the remaining 60 percent is split evenly between human error and system glitches [36]. According to figure 5, malicious attacks tops the chart for reason behind cybercrime in Brazil. But system glitch can be due to human error also. So if system glitch and human error are clubbed together than it will top the chart and it can be said that human error is the root cause of cybercrimes in Brazil.

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Figure 5: Root cause of Cybercrime in Brazil (Image Source: “2016 Cost of Data Breach Study: Brazil,” Ponemon Institute, June 2016) [36]

Teenagers look for new stuff and excitement make them victims or offenders in cybercrime. When kids are denied access at home and school, they resort to other options like friends and cyber cafes. So though parents did their job of controlling but simultaneously they forgot that it is more important to teach right and wrong than to block facilities. Over 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13 years old and over 81 per cent of teens admit that bullying is easier to get away with online [17]. Every 1 out of 10 child hides cyber buying incident from their parents. Most surprising fact is that teenagers are getting attracted more into cybercrime world not for money but to achieve a sense of accomplishment and prove themselves among their peers. It is being done for popularity and satisfaction without realization of the implication of the crime. Dopamine can be released quickly as vulnerable youth achieve frequent and rapid successes online, and if these successes are linked to anti-social acts, such as hacking, they will be reinforced to pursue further ends to obtain their gains: in other words the variable ratio reinforcement schedule of Internet use and abuse, and dopamine/tech use connection [24].


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Cybercrime and Ethics among Kids and Teens. Study on top four countries in Cybercrime
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cyber, cybercrime, Cyberbullying, cyber theft, USA, China, India, Brazil, impact of cybercrime, cyber ethics, UK, London
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Dr. Manisha Kumari Deep (Author), 2018, Cybercrime and Ethics among Kids and Teens. Study on top four countries in Cybercrime, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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