Children Learning Ethical Hacking
Today’s children are leveraging open courseware such as CodeSchool.com, CodeAcademy.com and CoderDojo.com to learn how to hack their way into online games according to Mashable’s post: http://mashable.com/2013/02/09/kids-coding/. This is a story that can quickly divide people into two camps, those who say the sites should make sure their security is stronger, and those that say students and children should learn how to use their powers wisely. Well what if they are?
If you are on the side of the children who have spent time to learn to work around a system and say that security should be brought up to higher standards, let me ask you a question: What if it was your paid site, or restricted games? If you are trying to provide a service to a certain age group and children who shouldn’t see that type of content or are not allowed on your site, what would you do? This brings up the question many have now about Facebook, and how children under the age of 13 are signing up by the millions according to this Huffington Post Article. We all know that curiosity soars in children especially pre-teens, so why not strengthen security, and prevent the sites from being hacked. After all you are storing personal information on these sites, and how safe would I feel if my son or daughter could bypass your security? It seems as though if your site full of children’s personal information, even if authorized by an adult, is vulnerable to children of the same age there needs to be something done about the problem.
If the shoe is on the other foot and you say children should be using their powers of coding to break into these sites to expose their weaknesses, should that be done on a live server? Should this be done to possibly expose others information, or allow them to see behind the curtain of the software they should not have otherwise had access to? With great power and skills, comes great responsibility. Most of the code uses created malware to allow these children to steal currency, login to social media sites, and do other damage to people in the virtual world. However, more and more the virtual world crosses into the physical world, with ramifications similar to stealing lunch money, ruining friendships, and other larger problems (such as breaking into websites?).
It seems as though either way we are in the midst a moral dilemma that we might not have had to think about before as our world ever changes. I would love to hear some feed back on your thoughts and what you would do if you child was the one hacking away…Also, as educators, families mentors does the landscape of our youth really change what we are teaching, or do we just need to reference different outlets?