Children do not always understand that piracy is stealing because they are not physically going to a store, taking something off the shelf, and leaving without paying for it. Instead, they are sitting at home on their own computer and downloading or uploading copyrighted movies, music, and software. If caught, parents or guardians may be held responsible for their child’s piracy, resulting in a financial penalty or worse.
In addition to the legality issue, there are security concerns. Files may be intentionally mislabeled in order to disguise viruses, pornography, and other unwanted content. Some file-sharing programs require the user to download a program or “plug-in,” which may come packaged with hidden spyware. Unfortunately, most P2P services do not have a central Web server where complaints may be filed. Therefore, it is important that parents and guardians pay careful attention to what their children download through file-sharing services. Make sure to scan all downloaded files for viruses and other malware, and look at all of your child’s downloaded files to ensure that the content is what was expected.