Police Advise Know Your Child’s Facebook Password, Even If You Have to Steal It!
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We have often taken flack for saying that children have no business being on Facebook (or the Internet in general), and that parents really don’t understand the dangers of letting your child on the Internet without adequate supervision and precautions. Now a group of police officers is saying the same thing, going so far as to say that you need to have your child’s Facebook password, and monitor their activity on Facebook – even if it means stealing their Facebook password to do it.

In fact, no other than the Chief of Police himself, in Mahwah New Jersey, offered the caution to parents, going so far as to suggest that parents should install keystroke loggers (software that captures what your child is typing even if it is invisible on the screen) on their children’s computers.


He also said that parents should be aware of every status update – and every photo that they post.

And we couldn’t agree more.

And the Mahwah police force agrees as well, holding Internet safety classes for parents to back up their advice.

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“Trust sounds good. It’s a good cliché,” said Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli. However, said Chief Batelli, “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. 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 .. a sexual assault that’s the result of an Internet interaction or a Facebook comment. When it comes down to safety and welfare of your child, I think any parent would sacrifice anything to make sure nothing happens to their children. If it means buying an $80 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.”

And that is the reality of our current society. Kids are using drugs, and having sex in school in middle schools across the nation. Don’t believe it’s happening where your child goes to school? Try calling the local police department and just ask them – if you dare.

Thinking that having a good line of communication with your child is enough to keep them safe on the Internet is, as Chief Batelli points out, a good cliché, but it doesn’t line up with reality today. It’s necessary, but not sufficient.

 

Just ask any parent of a teen (or younger child) who has been unwittingly exposed to a predator stalking them through Facebook, or to Internet porn through a Facebook link. Or of any teen who now has a record themselves as a sexual predator because they got caught sexting. (Think your teen would never do that? Would never be friends with someone who does that? 1 out of every 5 teens is sexting – you do the math.)

If you think this is alarmist, remember Chief Batelli’s words: “When it comes down to safety and welfare of your child, I think any parent would sacrifice anything to make sure nothing happens to their children.”

Unfortunately, in this day and age, sometimes what needs to be sacrificed for the safety of your children is your own comfort level, and foolishly clinging to an ideal of open communication being sufficient that may have worked for your parents (think back – did it really?), but isn’t sufficient for today’s Internet reach.

Now, all this said, we do not advocate stealing or otherwise sneakily obtaining your child’s password. We do advocate that children should not be online at all, and if that isn’t possible, then they should be supervised whenever they are online, and it should be made clear to them that they will be required to let you have their password, because with the privilege of being online comes great responsibility – both theirs, and yours.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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