Leaving your child at daycare for the first time can be a daunting experience. Many new parents often experience separation anxiety and struggle with being away from their children all day after they return to work. Leaving a child with a new daycare provider can also be nerve-wracking, especially if the child is too young to tell you if they enjoyed their time at daycare or not. It’s becoming an increasing trend for daycare providers to install cameras so parents not only have peace of mind when they drop their children off for the day but also to protect the individual daycare worker. Not everyone is in favor of the practice, however.
Richelle Louch is a Canadian daycare owner who installed surveillance cameras shortly after she opened in 2017. She explained to Global News that parents can install an app that allows them to check in on their children at any time of day, assuring them that their kids are healthy and happy. “It relieves some anxiety about leaving their kids in the first place, because it’s hard, especially when they are that young,” Louch explained to the news station. “And then also for accountability, for both myself and the children.”
Louch explained that having the cameras has only been positive for her and the parents of the children in her care, and has never had a parent call with concerns over something they’ve seen.
Not everyone loves the idea of cameras though. Parenting expert Alyson Schafer told Global that being able to constantly monitor their children isn’t always a good thing. “I’ve seen this certainly with the daycares and especially at camps now,” Schafer said. “Kids go off to camp and it’s supposed to be their first taste of freedom away from their parents, and now the camps have mounted cameras around the camp and the parents watch it from their desktops at home.
“What they do is they call the camp and they say, ‘My daughter is not wearing a sweater I think she looks cold,’ or, ‘My daughter isn’t smiling. Somebody… go over and check on her.’
“This just creates another environment for hypervigilance and helicopter parenting in the one time when kids really need to be learning, ‘I’m OK. I’m autonomous. I’ll manage.'”
Privacy is another main concern. In Canada, daycare centers that want to install cameras must follow provincial privacy laws. In the United States, private employers are not obliged to protect an individual's right to privacy unless mandated by the state, according to Legal Beagle. However in States that allow surveillance cameras all employees must be informed of their presence.
Schafer, however, thinks there are better ways for parents to feel confident about leaving their children at daycare. She suggests doing a full reference check, using Facetime to connect during the day and even popping in unexpectedly to ensure your comfortable with your daycare and the care they’re providing.