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Police Chief Teaches Parents To Keylog Kids 505

Posted by Soulskill
from the sergeant-script-kiddie dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "LiveScience reports that James Batelli, the police chief of Mahwah, NJ, and his detectives conduct seminars that teach parents how to outfit a computer with keystroke logging software, giving them access to the full spectrum of their kids' online activities. Batelli explains that kids put themselves in potentially dangerous situations online every day, especially on Facebook, where they run the risk of coming into contact with child predators who troll the social networking site. 'When it comes down to safety and welfare of your child, I don't think any parent would sacrifice anything to make sure nothing happens to their children,' he says."
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Police Chief Teaches Parents To Keylog Kids

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  • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Sunday February 20, 2011 @06:24AM (#35258722)

    I don't think any parent would sacrifice anything to make sure nothing happens to their children

    If you are so out of touch with what your kid does online that you need this.. then you forgot to sacrifice something somewhere along the way.

    No, you can't watch your kids all the time .. and at a certain age you can't just say "internet only when I'm around" either.

    You can however educate your child on the risks out there, and have a good understanding of your childs judgment is.

  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @06:40AM (#35258772)
    The age when you cannot say "internet only when I'm around" - 10-12 yrs I guess
    The age when the children start maintaining the computers themselves, taking basic precautions against malware,etc -- 12-14 (and then they find out about the parent installed keylogger)
    Would you really want your kids not to trust you after the age of 14?
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2011 @06:47AM (#35258794)

    "In order to save the village, we had to destroy it" comes to mind.

    Or "never time to do it right, always time do fsck it up and try something even worse" perhaps.

    If parents'd done their homework, there'd be no problem. But they haven't, so this guy's "teaching" some half-assed catch-up technique that doesn't scale next to the drawbacks of being highly unethical and is bound to lose the parents their childrens' trust if (inevitably) found out. So the value of teaching this is mostly in how it's eventually self-defeating. The fact that a holder of public trust thinks its acceptable to teach this I find... telling.

    As a parent you can insist that no internet access happens unsupervised ("training wheels") until it's time to take off the training wheels. If you don't understand that, then internet access is the least of your parenting worries.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Sunday February 20, 2011 @06:53AM (#35258814)

    I don't so much have a problem with the privacy issue. Up to a certain age, I think a parent should supervise what their child is doing online.

    More the method.

    This seems like a half-ass solution to a problem arising from the sadly typical "both parents work, no one actually raises their own kids any more" society we have now. No, you can't monitor your kids all the time.. and there is an age between the "computer in the living room, only when I'm around" age and the "computer in your bedroom.. I trust you" age.. but this seems like a really bad solution for something that _should_ be solved by actual parenting.

  • by migla (1099771) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @06:58AM (#35258832)

    Talk to your kids.

    Make sure there's an open environment at home where the parents take an interest in the kids and talk about what they've been up to and what they're going to do.

    This will (statistically) make the kids want to share what happens in their life, which in turn will make them not do stupid things they'd have to hide.

  • "Be Prepared" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davide marney (231845) * <davide,marney&netmedia,org> on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:05AM (#35258864) Journal
    I like the way the Boy Scouts handle this sort of risk. Far better to be prepared for problems and to know what to do in a dicey situation, rather than try to insulate oneself from all harm (which cannot be done, in any event.) I didn't find it very hard hard to teach my kids how to be safe on the Internet. I would not put a blanket prohibition on keylogging, however. If a child deliberately lies about his online activities, is actively seeking out bad things on the Internet, and has been caught in the act more than once, then monitoring is called for. Then, it's really more about the lying than it is about the Internet.
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:07AM (#35258870)

    And worst of all, the kid will grow up seeing this state of affairs as perfectly normal.

  • by OzTech (524154) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:14AM (#35258892)

    It is east to always justify things like this in the name of protection and safety. It is the motherhood and apple-pie argument which Americans use to defend all of their actions.

    Sadly, it is not a substitute for taking care of your children. Explain things to them, teach and guide by example. Make them aware of what they can stumble into and how to get out. Handled correctly and with educated children, you don't need nanny filters, porn filters, or key-loggers. With 3 children connected to the internet since their early to mid teens, two of whom are now in their early 20's, I have actually practiced this method and it works. Show some respect and guidance, you might be surprised to discover that you get the same in return. Children are a reflection on their parents, so kids who grow up with nanny filters and snooping software, think it is normal and won't have any issue in seeing it used elsewhere for any reason whatsoever.

  • by tm2b (42473) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:25AM (#35258932) Journal
    "It is better, and easier, to try to worldproof your children than to try to childproof the world."
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by louic (1841824) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:30AM (#35258952)
    It also reminds me of the story of Perceval. As I remember it, a mother brought up her kid in a forest to protect him, after her husband (a knight) was killed in battle. The only thing she achieved with this was that the first time the young boy accidentally saw a knight in shiny armor wandering in the forest, he first thought it was a god, and from that moment on, all he wanted to do was become a knight.

    Children need to be protected, but not overprotected. They need to be ready for a society where the naive are being used by the not-so-naive.

    Before there were computers and the Big Evil Internet, did parents follow their children everywhere when they were playing outside to make sure they did not accidentally see a porn magazine? (at the time, the older brother of your children's best friend usually had them). Did they rig their kid's Walkman to record everything they said, in order to later check if it was "acceptable"?
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:34AM (#35258962)

    Reminds me of a girl in my class. She was not allowed contact with any of the other kids. He parents were very over protective. Then at 18, she was old enough according to her parents and was left loose. In about 3 months she became the school slut, because she had no idea how to correctly interact with others.

    It is also like kid-proofing your house. Don't. The kid will get some bumps and that is how you learn: by failing.

    It is basically the standard: do not take candy from strangers. I was raised in such a way that I would not even take candy from neighbors and if my parents were there and some neighbor wanted to give me candy, I would aks my parents first.

    Education on what to do is the best thing you can give your kid. Not only so he won't get raped (which happens way more with people they know then with people they don't) and murdered, but s they have a basis for the rest of their life on how to handle situations.

    As a parent you are NOT the babysitter and you are NOT their friend. You are the parent and YOU need to see that they learn as much as possible. Putting them in a cocoon will take the ability to learn away.

    Protection is a short term goal. As a parent you need to look at the long term goal. 20+ years from the start.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:41AM (#35258986) Journal

    You do know that if your 14 your old daughter decides to show her boyfriend her tittles for all fun and games on a web cam that she can go to jail for manufacturing and distributing child pornography and be labelled a sex offender for life! That counts for 2 crimes and the cops are asses and do not care.

    I think that is ridiculous but I work for a school district and heard some of these presentations. To me the idea of my kid going to jail for something nearly all teens do now is disturbing. Having a talk or not they are teens and if I own the computers I have a right to keylog. Nearly a third of teenagers get stalked by sexual predators on the net. I have seen men wacking off in cars in front of elementary schools and others following innocent children. It is more common than you think and some parents want to monitor for good reasons.

    I prefer to be honest as my kids are not at that age where I have to worry yet. However, I am not opposed to a parent keylogging their kid. Heck people keylog their spouses and so do your employers.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @07:56AM (#35259042)

    We didn't limit our daughter's online activities - but the computer she used was out in our living room. We explained to her why we felt it mattered, and also explained that it wasn't so much distrust of her as it was concern about a small minority of online denizens she might run into. We didn't spend time looking over her shoulder, but we would on occasion ask her what she was doing at the moment and who she was talking with. And no, we didn't really check - we took her word for it.

    You may or may not agree with this, but really the bottom line is this - be honest with your kids. If you're sneaking around behind their backs, don't be surprised if they turn around and do the same thing to you. If you want them to respect you, show that you respect them. Sure, it's not an equal partnership and you certainly need to look out for them, but the goal of raising them right is you should be able to trust them to do the right thing most of the time.

  • by iter8 (742854) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @08:48AM (#35259202)
    Today's lesson is parents keylogging kids with the aid of the police. How long will it be before the computer savvy among the kids keylog their parents or teachers? Kids learn things quickly. Teach them that spying and dishonesty is the way to treat people and they'll learn the lesson and apply it.
  • Re:Most kids now! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @08:56AM (#35259222)

    Really? Some people keep talking about how kids today are so good with technology, but that's not necessarily true in my experience. Most of them merely know how to access their Facebook accounts, use a proxy, and point and click. That's pretty much it. They don't know the details about anything. They might know slightly more than their parents, but that isn't saying much. Most people just seem to be technologically illiterate.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @10:03AM (#35259486) Homepage

    > But since they did, it means they want to keep an eye on their kid to make sure they turn out as they wish

    My brother is one of those fat, old "the ends justify the means" right wingers. He felt it was okay spying on his kids because the ends justified it. What he didn't know was that my nieces and nephews were way ahead of him. I got a clue when they started asking me about running Ubuntu from a live CD and various ways someone might spy on a cell phone. It got to the point they were running "wild weasel" missions to cover one another. I don't think my brother knows to this day.

    I mark the time we started going downhill as a country as the day those BABY ON BOARD stickers started showing up on cars. The dawn of the overprotective helicopter parents. After that it was locker and backpack searches, drug tests, fences, badges and metal detectors. On the way to the golf course a bunch of us drove past what I thought it was a minimum security prison. One of the other guys corrected me that it was a school. When we raise our children like prisoners, how do we expect them to behave as adults?

    Classes like the one the police chief is teaching do little more than highlight the extent of decay our society has experienced the last 40 years.

  • by lwsimon (724555) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:25PM (#35260418) Homepage Journal

    Intelligent kids are so much more difficult to raise - and I'd wager that there is a disproportionate number of highly intelligent kids of parents who read Slashdot.

    I've got a two-year-old, and I always take time to explain why I set boundaries for her, even though she doesn't fully understand all of it yet. "Because I said so" is valid, if and only if you're really setting a boundary only for your own personal preference; that's okay, you're the adult. The same reason shouldn't be given for "why can't I wear my tutu to Walmart?" as "Why can't I put my hand on the top of the stove to see if it's on?".

  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NETBSDgmail.com minus bsd> on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:33PM (#35260454)

    My kids have no privacy, period, end of discussion.

    So you want them to do the "bad" stuff behind your back, then? If you're conditioning your kids to not be honest with you, what exactly do you expect from them later in life?

    Oh, you think they'll stop if you tell them to? I thought you remember those hormones?

  • by Shoten (260439) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:52PM (#35260544)

    I can understand why parents would turn to police officers for some description of the threats out there. I get why they would want the people who deal with criminals to talk about the nature of the bad guys and how they operate. What I don't get is why parents would accept OPERATIONAL advice on how to behave towards their kids. The police are (duh) charged with the investigation of crimes and criminal suspects. This is a model for behavior which is unbelievably ill-suited for parenting.

  • by Dishwasha (125561) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:55PM (#35260576)

    Feel free to replace "parents" with "US Government" and "children" with "citizens" in any of those statements. Also feel free to replace "police" with "FBI".

  • Re:Nope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Totenglocke (1291680) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @02:16PM (#35260696)

    Congratulations on being an asshole who's kids hate you and will want nothing to do with you later in life after they move out. Your kids in high school are plenty capable of making their own decisions - and (I know this is hard for people like you and the parents working with this jackass cop to understand), the only way you teach them how to be a responsible adult is to TREAT them like one. You do it slowly over time, so that by the time they're 16 and have a drivers license, they're mature and responsible.

    Your attitude has nothing to do with the well being of your children and everything to do with your personal desire to lord power over others.

  • Re:Nope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Golddess (1361003) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @02:25PM (#35260758)

    My kids have no privacy, period, end of discussion.

    Good luck convincing the judge that when your daughter drags you to court for sexual harassment.

    Everyone has the right to some basic level of privacy. Some people just have a right to more, for lack of a better way of saying it.

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