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Does your child spend a lot of time online? Most parents don’t know their children are up to no good until the police come to the door. Here are a few warning signals to tell you if your child is a hacker.

Do you notice several one or two minute long distant phone calls to strange numbers? This may be a sign that your child is helping to organize or is participating in, illegal telephone conferences. Also, have you ever caught your child using store bought pre-paid calling cards, or have you ever noticed them lying around? This is a definite sign that your kid is making calls that they don't want you to know about.

Does your child become uneasy, or do you notice them quickly hitting keys or the mouse when you approach them while they're on the computer? This is a clear sign that they're doing something that they don't want you to see. Sure, it could be his porno collection, but it could also be something more.

Do they spend more time with their "friends on the computer" than with their "real life friends"? You need to be watching for changes in their social behavior. Are they becoming withdrawn, do they head for the computer as soon as they get home from school, and are they still on it when you go to bed at night?

Has your Internet Service Provider ever called you about Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy Violations? This means that someone has complained that your computer was being used for no good, or your ISP has detected abusive behavior. Either your child did something they shouldn't have, or someone is making it look like they were up to no good. Either way, it's a good warning sign that your child is associating himself with the wrong people.

Is your child a subscriber of magazines? You should check what sort of things they are reading about, they might not be what you expect.

Has your child gotten a new piece of hardware for their computer, or a brand new computer? How did he get it? Keep an eye out for extravagant new purchases that you know your child couldn't have afforded. You need to be sure that your kid isn't illegally using someone else's credit card number to make purchases.

Has someone ever called asking if they can speak to a person with a very strange name? Or the type of name a child might use on the Internet? If your child has friends calling that are asking for him by "handle" (aliases hackers use to identify each other, without having to reveal their real names), instead of asking for him by name, it's a clear sign that he's taking cyberspace to its extremes.

So, what to do if you suspect, or know, that your kid is up to no good while using the computer?

If you try installing software to control what your child does online, it is merely a challenge for them, which they will soon get round.

One thing that you can do is move their computer to a public area of your house. In other words, take the computer out of their bedroom, and move it into the living room. If you're always around when they're on the computer, your kid is less likely to do nefarious deeds.

Don't let them use their computer late at night. That's when most hacks take place, and when most hackers meet online. Sure, if your kid loves technology, and you want them to learn all that they can about it, you don't want to limit the number of hours they can spend using their computers. However, they have all day during weekends, and several hours after school to use the computer, there's no reason for them to be on-line at 11pm.

Your child may have a talent. Make them put it towards something productive. Forcing them to volunteer at a community center or the local library, where there are computers set up for public use, is a great way to direct their talents, as well as a way to let them see the satisfaction that comes with doing something positive.