Digital Day Care. Part 4

KidsRKids has used Internet video monitoring in its centers for more than six years. “We brought the Internet cameras in because we’ve got nothing to hide — and if a teacher does have something to hide, they shouldn’t be there in the first place,” says Vinson.

Several teachers unions have even tried to block the use of digital cameras in day care classrooms, pointing to what many are calling a violation of personal rights. “A lot of the apprehension has to do with teachers’ insecurities,” said Copin. “Who would want to be watched on the job all the time? It’s understandable.”

Copin said the upside for caregivers, though, is that digital day care takes the guesswork out of communication between teachers, administrators and busy parents. Childcare managers and parents are aware of the level of care the teachers give because they can see it for themselves. In turn, the cameras increase parents’ appreciation for caregivers’ dedication and hard work.

Technical Limitations
Digital day care isn’t yet available in real-time, so parents should expect a slight delay. On average, it can take about one to five seconds to catch up with what’s happening in reality, depending on the level of the on-site equipment and the user’s connection speed.

If parents can see their children online, why not listen to them as well? Unfortunately, audio isn’t an option yet. While childcare video companies like KinderCam of Atlanta, Ga., plan to add sound to future-generation products, others in the industry remain hesitant.

The Cost of Keeping in Touch
Internet video companies contract with day care centers, often providing up to $13,000 in Web cameras, cable and other hi-tech hardware. In most cases, it’s up to the day care management to pass the expense down to parents. On average, parents pay between $8 and $25 per child, per month.

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