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Talk to your kid about Internet crimes before it costs them later

Technology is everywhere. It's in our cars, our homes and sometimes even in our bodies. But as scientists continue to test the boundaries of what we can and cannot make, there are some in the world who want to test the integrity of this technology, specifically to see if it can be broken into and tampered with.

From hacking vehicle controls remotely to breaking into computer databases, the media attention garnered from such digital heists can leave some people feeling encouraged to engage in such activities. This may be particularly true for teens and young adults who might see computer hacking as a way to test their skills and make a name for themselves. But as our Alameda County readers will soon see, a decision like this can have criminal consequences, which is something parents need to warn their children about now before they make a mistake down the road.

Here in California, as well as across the nation, hacking into a computer system without the owner's consent is considered a crime punishable with fines and imprisonment. Governed by §502 of the California Penal Code, computer crimes such as hacking can lead to criminal litigation as well as civil litigation. On top of penalties accessed in a criminal case, a defendant may also be held accountable for the damage they caused, paying compensation to a victim in an amount decided by a court judge.

Because criminal convictions can sometimes stay on a person's record for the rest of their life, it's important for parents here in Pleasanton and across California to talk to their children about the negative consequences that come with the decision to tamper, interfere with or unlawfully access data without authorization. It's also important for parents to let their children know that they do have the right to legal counsel though if they should find themselves facing criminal charges down the road.

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