A police chief in New Jersey has told parents that they should be hacking their children’s Facebook and Bebo accounts in order to monitor who they are talking to and what they are talking about.
James Batelli said that Facebook and other platforms are increasingly being used as tools that enable abusers to get access to minors, resulting in abductions and sexual assault cases that he has to investigate.
Batelli, police chief at Mahwah NJ, said that there was nothing wrong with parents using spyware to monitor their children’s internet activity or using their passwords to gain access to their private massages left on the various social media facilities that their offspring may be using.
He says: “If you sugar coat it, parents just don’t get it. Read the paper any day of the week and you’ll see an abduction or a sexual assault that’s the result of an internet interaction or a Facebook comment.”
Detectives in Batelli’s department even provide free seminars on how to install spyware on their home computers while he goes on to point out that posting pictures online, sexting and otherwise disseminating pictures of yourself could damage school, college and career prospects later on in life.
He went on to say that it’s been a long time since parents were naïve enough to think that their kids wouldn’t be tempted to try drugs or alcohol when placed under peer pressure, today they shouldn’t believe that their teens couldn’t be coerced online into giving in to requests from online predators who patrol websites looking for potential victims.
Batelli also thinks that: “When it comes down to the safety and welfare of your children, I don’t think any parent would sacrifice anything to make sure nothing happens to their children. If it means buying an $80.00 package of software and putting it on and seeing some inappropriate words you don’t want your child to say, then that’s part of society.”
While he’s right that when you look at the media you see stories all the time, however, fear of crime is disproportionately large in relation to actual crime figures. The media creates folk devils who strike fear into the hearts of the population when in reality while the problem might exist, it is often far less significant than journalists would have you believe. While Batelli says that there is nothing wrong with parents accessing their children’s internet activity it is in fact a crime contravening all sorts of state and federal laws. It’s unlikely a child would bring these kinds of charges against their parents but the point is that he’s abetting a crime.
Of course a parent should be concerned about their child’s activity but rather than spying they should educate themselves and then talk to their kids about internet responsibility. If that doesn’t seem to work don’t allow them a computer in their room but be in the same room when they surf. Spying on your children will only cause friction and conflict.