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10 Illegal Activities Your Kids May Be Up To

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

For Mother's Day, your darling angel-eyed child may bring you chocolates or flowers, or even breakfast in bed. But don't let your parental guard down too easily, as your kid may be up to some potentially illegal activities behind your back.

Just imagine: A nice little arrest warrant for Junior on the fridge, right next to his third-grade drawing of an elephant that looks more like a mouse. They grow up so quickly!

As an early Mother's Day gift to all the busy moms out there, here are 10 things that kids (these days...) are getting in trouble for, that you may not know about:

  1. Sexting. It's what every mom wants to never think about -- ever. But it happens, and it can ruin your daughter's life. In fact, it can ruin your son's life too. Before Missy goes to Victoria's Secret to pick up some risque undies, tough it out and have the awkward talk about sexting.
  2. Texting while driving. By now, we should all know that this leads to accidents. But in many states, it's also illegal. You might think "kids will be kids," and that you can't stop them. But smartphones can! Fortunately, there are apps for that. (For the love of all that is right in the world, let's hope this doesn't combine into "sexting while driving.")
  3. Cyberbullying. Online harassment is becoming pretty common among the youth. It can have devastating consequences for everyone involved. Whether your kid is the target or the bully, it's important to be the mama bear and take steps to prevent cyberbullying.
  4. In-person bullying. The traditional bullying is still alive and well too, so be sure you know the laws where you live.
  5. Underage drinking. This is a pretty obvious one. But you should also not be like Amy Poehler's character in "Mean Girls." Don't be the cool mom, be the legal one!
  6. Huffing. You know bourbon and heroin don't mix. But kids are using household products like duster spray to get high. It's super dangerous and illegal.
  7. Drinking sizzurp. Its main ingredient is prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine. Kids mix it with Sprite, Mountain Dew, or Jolly Rancher candies, and its illegal.
  8. Popping prescription pills -- for which they have no prescription. Kids are getting savvy and have ordered drugs like Vicodin, Adderral and Xanax online. It's dangerous and illegal.
  9. Illegally downloading music and movies. Your kids might be a big fan of BitTorrent, but they can't use it to download copyrighted movies or music.
  10. Gambling. If Junior looks blue at the dinner table and says that he lost a lot of his allowance, make sure he hasn't been hitting up Chuck E. Cheese and drowning away his sorrows in root beer floats. But seriously, youth gambling is a problem for some -- and it's illegal.

If your child gets caught doing something unlawful, you'll want to learn more about how the juvenile justice system works and perhaps even how to expunge juvenile records. It may also be wise to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.

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