British Columbia

Daycare webcams reassure parents

Parents who want to keep an eye on their kids while they're in daycare are taking advantage of webcam access that some daycare centres offer.

Parents who want to keep an eye on their kids while they're in daycare are taking advantage of webcam access that a growing number of daycare centres offer.

One Port Coquitlam, B.C., daycare operator told CBC News that parents are embracing the technology so they can check in on their child any time of day, even via smartphone.

At BrightStart Children's Academy, every room where there are children's activities has at least two active cameras, which provide wide shots from different angles.

"They get to work, they log in and they see, 'Oh little Johnny, he's fine,' and it makes them feel good," said Carol Wiens, who co-directs BrightStart.

Wiens bought the technology and software from a Toronto company, Daycare Webwatch.

Parents or grandparents are given individual passwords for access to a video feed connected to cameras at Brightstart.

Employees have signed releases allowing the images to be captured and sent out on the system.

Mixed reaction

Vandhana Misri, whose son goes to BrightStart, said she tunes into the video feed as often as six times a day.

"He was always incredibly shy," Misri said. "And I get to actually see him interact with his friends at this school, which I didn't get to see before."

But not all parents see eye to eye on the webcam concept.

Carla Shore, the mother of two boys under 10 who are in after-school care in Vancouver, said she'd rather trust people than technology.

"If [parents] are going to pop in, 'You gave my child too much fruit, or not enough crackers,' or, 'How come that boy got to play with that toy and not my son?' That's not the way to run a daycare."

A spokesperson for Daycare Webwatch said enough parents are interested in the technology that the market is growing.

The company has already done installations in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto, as well as Metro Vancouver.

With files from Theresa Lalonde