The other day I received a call from a parent asked me how to crack their daughter’s password on her laptop. The parent suspected that their daughter was chatting to inappropriate people on the internet and she wanted to install software to secretly track her daughter’s activities.
The parent wanted to actually crack the password, because they didn’t want the daughter to know they have access to the laptop. They also asked about a good way they could disable the laptop so they can use the story that it needed repair to do the actual dirty deed.
Now, the actual process of cracking the password is very easy, but there is an ethical question here. Should parents spy on their kids? I think the answer is “no”. You see, to me, I believe that the parent in this case should talk to her child. I think that is much more productive than spying. There needs to be trust between parent and child and spying is not a way to establish that trust. If talking does not work, then the parent can simply remove the laptop or internet access as punishment.
No software can replace the role of a parent.