A young man’s experience with digital piracy
Hannah shares her experience of downloading and viewing pirated content online and how her parents supported her in managing the associated risks.
Previously, my regular viewing habits mostly included quite a bit of YouTube, where I follow a lot of content creators, and then TV shows on online streaming services like Netflix and Disney +. For movies and sports, I use streaming platforms and occasionally satellite TV. I mostly watch content alone, on my laptop or phone, but a couple times a week I watch things with family and friends, so every now and then I watch it through Apple TV or PlayStation.
A lot of the TV shows I saw were through illegal sites that I found through Google search, and they were mainly TV shows in the US that were obviously not available here. I’d find websites that were dedicated to an entire TV show so I could watch it, and occasionally if the movies weren’t on Netflix or Disney + I’d watch them from a movie streaming site, and the same with live sports if they’re not. covered by a broadcaster. I hear about these sites mostly from friends and am also researching how to see things myself.
View inappropriate content as a result of digital piracy: A young man’s experience with digital piracy
When I was about 14 years old, I was on a school laptop and I was watching How I Met Your Mother on an unofficial online site. I got a bunch of viruses downloaded to my laptop that slowed everything down – there were constant pop-up ads and it was really irritating trying to work on the laptop. I was a little scared at the time, I felt like I was going to get in trouble because there were a lot of porn ads, which is obviously not great if you are 14 years old.
I told my parents after a day or two because I tried to get rid of them but I didn’t know how. My dad ran anti-viral software on the laptop that cleaned things up, told me to make sure not to do it again and to be careful in the future, and I basically stopped seeing things from these sites now. If my dad hadn’t had the software already, it would have cost us money to buy it, and if the school had found the damage, that would have had a bigger financial impact on us because of all this.
Hacking incident on a social account: A young man’s experience with digital piracy
I also had problems when I was 15 or 16 when I was watching something on my phone, and again a bunch of ads popped up and the same problems happened. I don’t remember if it was the same website but it was on the same line. After that, I deleted some of my posts on my Instagram and then spam messages were sent from my messenger to a group of people telling them that they had ‘won a prize’. I couldn’t get the Instagram posts back and I had to check my inbox and tell people not to click on the links that were sent, so I definitely learned from experience as it’s something that probably couldn’t have happened if I did the right thing and made sure I was viewing it from a proper website.
Family and school support
Fortunately with my parents and the school, nothing that bad happened because I was very young, obviously there was a bit of shame and concern that there would be some repercussions with that, but they just made sure I learned from it and I didn’t. keep doing these things. It’s kind of shocking to know that it can affect you so much, especially when you’re young, and it was strange to know that someone had been on my social media account so I made sure to change all my passwords.
Obviously, I feel a bit annoyed at the people who hacked me, and while I understand the ads, I don’t necessarily understand why they removed my posts on Instagram, it’s really annoying and a huge inconvenience. However, I mainly hold myself responsible because it is a hacked website, so I am at fault because I am the one who did something illegal. I am definitely more willing to pay for content than to visit hacked sites as it is not in the best interest of the people who actually created the content, and I know there is a reason the content is not available in your region so if it was to give advice to my younger self. I would say that if you are going to use these types of websites, be careful and limit how much you use them, or just wait until the content reaches your country.