Would YOU break into your kid’s Facebook account and snoop around? There’s a police chief in New Jersey who thinks you should. Not only does Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli encourage parents to do so, he’s teaching seminars on how to do it.
According to a story from NBC New York, Batelli, a parent of a teenage daughter himself, shows parents how to install security software programs and teaches them to capture passwords, monitor kids’ accounts and see all activity that occurs – all completely unbeknownst to the ones being ‘hacked.’
Batelli is quoted as saying, “Trust sounds good. It’s a good cliché, [But] to stick your head in the sand and think that, in 9th, 10th, 8th grade, your child is not going to be exposed to alcohol, is not going to be exposed to drugs is kind of a naïve way to go about it.”
When it comes to technology and trusting our kids, there are going to be proponents arguing both sides vehemently, with a huge population of parents falling right in the middle. I touched upon this in a post a couple weeks ago on GPS tracking your kids and I’m still sticking with trust trumping everything else.
There’s no doubt that there are inherent risks in the outside world, on the Internet and with certain decisions that our kids’ will make, but trust doesn’t just sound good, it is good. I just wonder what happens to that trust when kids find out that their parents are snooping on them, and then take even greater measures to hide things.
Without being in the situation myself, it’s hard to know what I would want to do. My kids are still young and I have several years ahead of me before I start worrying about their online behavior (thankfully!), but this ongoing technology conversation can’t just be black/white, either/or. The alternative to hacking into your kid’s account doesn’t mean she is automatically relegated to a life of depravity and sin from being online. Some kids definitely need to be watched a little more closely than others, but I hope there is a middle ground. It’s just up to us to find it.
And now back to my opening question – would you hack into your kid’s Facebook account?