Researchers from Flinders Criminology conducted a study that analyzed existing links between teenager’s tendencies, their online activities and cybercrime.

Teenagers struggle with impulse control, even when on the internet. The team found that this increases the risk teens will become cybercriminals. Teens are looking for quick thrills and a sense of power when they go online.

Researchers found that illegal online activity among kids aged 12 to 19 is supported because the internet blurs social boundaries. Teenagers are more prone to curiosity and thrill-seeking than adults. The internet encourages new levels of experimentation because it provides easy access to a limitless world and, by proxy, cybercrime.

The team calls the internet a seduction swamp for teenagers. The processes and features of the internet make it attractive and compelling, without revealing its faults. Once in the world of the internet and cybercrime, it can be difficult for a teenager to get out. The internet also makes it harder for people to understand the potential risks and harms their online actions have.

It is important to understand the connection between teenage emotional drivers, teen cybercrimes and human-computer interactions. These are behind why the internet can easily tempt young people into a variety of cybercrimes, including digital piracy, pornography and hacking.

Policymakers and governments need to understand how influential technology, like the internet, affects young people. When dealing with young cybercrime offenders, new internet policies should consist of interventions that take a teenager’s lack of worldly experience into account. Thrill-seeking can cause teenagers to be short-sighted when it comes to their online behavior. Government responses to teenage cybercrime need to also consider the teenagers’ motivation behind their online behaviors.

A paper on this study was published in the European Society of Criminology.