A new study has warned that Britain is breeding a generation of computer hackers with one in three teenagers admitting that they would commit cyber crimes for money.
According to a report in the Telegraph, a third of those polled said they would consider hacking or spying on the Internet if they could earn money by doing so.
The survey, which polled 1,000 children and parents across the Britain, was undertaken by Internet security firm Trend Micro.
Researchers found that a large proportion of today's youngsters are devoid of "e-morals" and have no scruples about hacking into other peoples' emails, bank accounts or personal networking profiles.
More than 10 per cent of youths aged from 12 to 18 said they thought it was "cool" or even "funny" to pose as someone else online, while one in seven children aged 12 to 13 admitted they already had. third of those polled said they would consider hacking or spying on the Internet if they could earn money by doing so.
Forty per cent of youngsters admitted they had logged on to another person's social networking profile.
The same proportion of young people had accessed someone else's online banking or email accounts.
Boys were found to be twice as likely as girls to log into someone's social networking site.
Girls were up to three times more likely than boys to access someone's online shopping or bank accounts without the owner knowing.
However, researchers also discovered that parents are setting a poor example for their children, as one in three said they had hacked into someone else's online accounts.
According to company spokesman Rik Fergusonm, "These results come as a stark warning to parents become a lot more familiar with what their kids get up to when online."
"Parents need to ensure they lead by example at all times," he said.