By Julie Jacobson
First-time parents will often “call in” to Giggles daycare centre several times a day to check on their children, owner Shona Ua-Marsh says.
But these mums and dads aren’t dropping by in their cars, but via reality TV.
The Te Puke preschool and nursery is New Zealand’s only web-capable daycare.
But while the webcam puts first-time mums and dads at ease, the initial blush of besotted parenthood usually fades after about a month.
“Quite often … they’ll start off logging in every day - usually 10 to 15 minutes during their morning tea break and again during their lunch hour, and after a couple of weeks it will be down to once or twice a week,” Ua-Marsh says.
Feedback from her 50-plus parents has prompted Ua-Marsh to develop her own software package, which she expects to launch shortly.
But early childhood and net safety groups are worried by interactive childcare and say webcam surveillance should be used with caution.
Nancy Bell, head of the Childcare Association and a parent, said privacy was an issue. “And that’s the privacy of children - in the sense that they are going to be the objects of surveillance - and the staff, who are also being watched.”
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