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Talk to your children about illegal Internet pranks

Many teenagers, young adults and people well into adulthood spend a large amount of time playing online games or participating in social media. While there is nothing wrong with connecting with others on the internet, sometimes an online activity can result in criminal penalties. At the law offices of Lonneman & McMahan PLLC, we are prepared to answer the questions Kentucky residents have regarding online crime. It is important for you and your children to understand the potential consequences of certain activities that may be mistaken as harmless, but can in fact have serious repercussions.

One such activity is a prank called “swatting.” Vox explains that swatting involves a person making a false call to authorities to lure law enforcement or swat teams to an unsuspecting target’s home. A well-publicized swatting incident, which you may be familiar with, resulted in the death of an innocent man in Kansas, when police officers thought he was reaching for a weapon and shot him. Reportedly, a man from Los Angeles, California, posed as the victim and told authorities that he had shot a family member and was holding other relatives hostage. The incident stemmed from an online gaming dispute, which the victim was not a part of. The caller is facing manslaughter charges.

If you have underage children who spend time online, it may be a good idea to speak with them about the consequences of swatting, making online threats and other activities that could harm someone or get your child arrested. Our page on juvenile defense explains more about protecting your child’s rights.

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