Peer pressure doesn’t end when kids are alone in front of a computer, new research shows, and it’s leading kids to commit cyber-crimes such as cyber-bullying and music piracy.
The study, published online in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, found kids in middle and high school whose friends committed cyber-crimes were more likely to engage in the same illegal activities, especially if they also exhibit a lack of self-control.
“These are the more risk-taking, impulsive kids; they’re more likely to act on opportunity,” study co-author Thomas Holt, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University, told PsychCentral.com. “It’s important to know what your kids are doing when they’re online and who they are associating with both online and offline.”
Researchers surveyed 435 students in one suburban Kentucky school district. Cyber-crime also includes activities such as hacking and viewing online pornography (which is illegal if the viewer is under 18).