Children and coding

Children and coding

The antivirus company, AVG, has recently released an impressive report in regards to children able to code malicious software. The company said children must be educated on coding “rights and wrongs”. Many schools around the world have started changing education programmes, aiming to teach children how to code instead of simply knowing how to use the computers. In the UK, there already are after-school clubs focused on teaching children how to code.

The conern is that while able to handle technology, children most likely lack the level of maturity needed to differentiate between what’s moral and what’s not.

Benefits or dangers?

Linda Sandvik is the co-founder of Code Club which teaches children aged nine and up how to code.

She told the BBC that the risks that were outlined in the AVG report were far outweighed by the benefits from teaching children to code. "We teach English, maths and science to all students because they are fundamental to understanding society," she said.

"The same is true of digital technology. When we gain literacy, we not only learn to read, but also to write. It is not enough to just use computer programs."

The AVG team focused their attention on one particular instance of code that masqueraded as a cheat program for gamers playing Runescape.

Runescape Gold Hack promised to give the gamer free virtual currency that could be used in the game. In reality this was being used to steal log-in details from certain users.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at AVG, said:  "We found that the malware was trying to steal the data from people and send it to a specific email address."

"The malware author included in that code the exact email address and password and additional information - more experienced hackers would never put these type of details in malware."

And that email address belonged to an 11-year-old boy in Canada. Thanks to the malware’s source code, researchers were able to find out which town the boy lived in.

With more and more children and people becoming more and more skilled and intelligent, the use of malicious software is more of a probability than a possibility. It is therefore advisable to resort to protective surveillance or counter electronic surveillance services. Find more details on the specific services pages of Conflict International’s website.