UK National Crime Agency Tells Parents How To Know If Children Are Programmers or Hackers

The UK National Crime Agency has released a new informational video about how parents can tell whether or not their kids are computer programmers or hackers.

As the National Crime Agency describes on their YouTube:

More and more teenagers and young people are getting involved in cybercrime. Many do it for fun without realising the consequences of their actions – but the penalties can be severe.

Cybercrime isn’t a victimless crime. The National Crime Agency and police take cyber crime extremely seriously and will make every effort to identify and prosecute offenders.

A permanent criminal record could affect education and future career prospects, as well as potential future overseas travel.

On their website, the agency gives descriptions abut cyber crimes, including hacking, which it describes as “gaining access to into someone’s computer, computer networks or other form of information communications technology (ICT).

This can be done via hacking, making, supplying or obtaining malware, viruses, spyware, botnets and Remote Access Trojans. The website even distinguishes ‘pranking’ as a crime, such as via accessing a friends computer without their knowledge.

As well, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are described. The UK National Crime Agency asks these questions of parents so they can know:

  • Are they resistant when asked what they do online?
  • Do they get an income from their online activities, do you know why and how?
  • Is your child spending all of their time online?
  • Do they have irregular sleeping patterns?
  • Have they become more socially isolated?

As the informational video states:

“Many children will have an active interest in coding, spend a lot of time online and have independent learning materials. These are all signs of a healthy and positive interest in computing.

The UK needs as many people interested in coding as possible. Coding and programming are extremely valuable skills and if your child has an interest you should actively encourage them to do so – but in a lawful way.”

Its advice for teachers:

If you’re worried about one of your students speak to them about what is illegal, the consequences of cyber and crime and show them positive ways to use their skills (see above). You should also make the student’s parents aware of your concerns.”

It lays out the crimes, including a “visit and warning” from police or NCA officers and arrest.


Justin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.