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updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

Rather than wondering which websites your kids are checking out, or whom they’re meeting and talking to on Facebook, why not just hack into their computers and find out for yourself?

James Batelli, the police chief of Mahwah, N.J., and his detectives conduct seminars during which they teach parents how to outfit a computer with keystroke logging software, which inconspicuously captures and stores every action performed on that machine.

Batelli explained 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.

“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,” Batelli told NBC New York.

Using keystroke logging software, parents can obtain their children's passwords, giving them access to the full spectrum of the kids' online activities.

“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,” said Batelli, the father of a teenage daughter. “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.”

Edi Goodman, chief privacy officer for Identity Theft 911, expressed mixed feelings about this high-tech parenting method. He called it an updated version of rifling through kids’ drawers and closets.

“It’s a slippery slope to spy on your kids,” said Goodman, who has two young children. “Hopefully I can teach my kids the skill sets to be aware about these [online] dangers, because I can’t be with them all the time.”

Goodman told SecurityNewsDaily he isn’t completely opposed to Batelli’s spying idea but thinks it should be applied on a case-by-case basis. Although he doesn’t see himself doing it, he said he could understand what might drive other parents to track what their children are doing on the Web.

 

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