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Internet crimes and minors: Kids turned into criminals

Can kids really be turned into cybercriminals by making mistakes online? Juvenile cybercrimes are possible, and it can affect a child for the rest of his or her life. When a minor breaks the law, he or she won't necessarily be punished in the same way as an adult, but that minor can still face heavy penalties.

Normally, there's a focus on rehabilitating the minor who has offended. Cybercrimes are a new area of the law, though, and that can cause some issues. What can you do when delinquent conduct, as it's called, results in a child being injured? What can you do when cyberbullying is out of hand and can't be removed from the Internet?

In Texas, anyone who is adjudicated, which is similar to being convicted, of a juvenile crime can be placed in a special facility. The facility, which is similar to a prison, is where the juveniles stay during the extent of their punishments. If the juvenile was 15 or older when a crime took place and it was serious or particularly violent, then the juvenile could be forced to stand trial as an adult. This is also true if the juvenile is a repeat offender.

Children younger than 10 aren't held accountable by the Texas juvenile justice system, because they're considered too young to understand what they've done or to be held responsible for their actions. That's not true in every state, though, and in some, children as young as 6 years old have been arrested for their crimes.

Children can be represented in court by attorneys, just like their parents. In fact, it can be a good idea to do so to protect them; if they don't understand their crime, helping them avoid marks on their record is the best way to move forward.

Source: TechRepublic, "Juvenile cyber-delinquency: Laws that are turning kids into criminals," Deb Shinder, accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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