We’ve seen the reports in the glossy weeklies about the revolutionaries in Africa recruiting young children. Our Western sensibilities are offended by this “corruption of innocents”. But here’s something more like the criminal ‘child labour’ gangs of Dickens.
Dickens had a unique perspective on the subject of child labour, reflecting upon his own experience working at Warren’s Blacking Factory at the age of twelve when his father was held in debtor’s prison. Completely on his own, working long hours in rat-infested quarters, young Dickens felt abandoned by his family, and his bitterness over this period of his childhood continued to influence his life and writings
How different from the well educated, well fed modern child of middle-class parents in a room of his own in suburbia surrounded by the trappings of modern adolescence and with all that computing power. Dickens would be hard pressed to pen a novel that fostered enough sympathy for the plight of such children as to press for social reform.
The boom in cyber crime is forcing criminals to go to great lengths to recruit skilled hackers, says a report.Some criminal gangs are paying students while they study to ensure they have a pool of tech-savvy workers to call on, says the report from McAfee.
Others are cashing in on the glamour of the hi-tech world to tempt youngsters into embarking on a life of crime.
McAfee said children as young as 14 years old were being targeted by some criminal gangs.
What a contrast from Dickens’s time when the children were forced by economic circumstance to work long hours under dreadful conditions with a high mortality rate.
As well as the direct route of targeting students, some organised crime gangs were trading on the glamour surrounding the “hacker” label to help them recruit impressionable youngsters, revealed the report.
The aura of rebellion the name conjured up helped criminals ensnare children as young as 14, suggested the study.
So what will this lead to? More parental paranoia and control? By some, probably, but more likely not by those whose children are most at risk. The practice of instilling fear in parents about their children for any number of reasons, academic achievement, exposure to physical and on-line predators, that they don’t get enough ‘ice time’, and so many other factors is getting to be unhealthy.
But what are we to do?