Where are your kids tonight? Virtually speaking.
You know they're up in their rooms. But they have laptops. And they've been pouting more than usual lately. So who are they talking to? What are they saying?
The police chief of Mahwah, N.J., James Batelli, believes that you shouldn't be sitting there and wondering. He believes parents should be using any methods they can to spy on their kids.
According to NBC New York, Batelli, who is the father of a teenage daughter, says a parent's biggest mistake can be naivete.
"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," he said.
Batelli reportedly sees nothing wrong with using spyware to monitor their every virtual move and hack their passwords to Facebook and any other site for which they might have a regular fondness.
Indeed, his detectives hold free seminars to teach parents how to install spyware on all their computers at home.
And, given that corporations, governments, and schools (in Pennsylvania, for example) both seem inclined to enjoy spying on their employees and pupils, perhaps Batelli is merely following the fashion.
"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," he told NBC New York.
Unfortunately, another part of society is that kids tend to be more adept computer-wise than their parents. What will happen when the kids realize they're being spied on? What kind of pouting might such an outing cause? And what might kids find if, in retaliation, they decide to hack into their parents' laptops?
Parenting is an ugly business. Sometimes, perhaps, you just have to have faith in your kids. But when does that faith run out?