By Kanchan Mittal
Installing CCTV cameras in daycare centres is a contentious topic. On one hand, it promotes safety and well-being of children, while reportedly restricting their natural growth due to parental disruptions. Childhood is the stage for vital developments, shaping the child into the individual they grow up to be. And monitoring every second of their lives can have a drastic impact on a child’s upbringing. Many parents may feel that this is an imperative part of their responsibility when they leave their kids in daycare, but facts say otherwise.
The central and state governments have released guidelines on the installation of CCTV cameras in daycare centres, preschools, and primary schools as well as the provisions for parents to have access to live feeds. An order was issued by the women and child development department on the guidelines and compliance of standard procedures, saying that all child care institutions must have adequate number of security officers, guards, CCTV cameras and fire extinguishers to ensure the safety and security of the children.
The order also specifies that CCTV cameras must be installed at important places like entry and exit gates, perimeter walls, staircase, playgrounds, dining rooms, entertainment room and administration block to monitor children as well as the staff of the institutions. Institutions like preschools, primary schools and daycare centres take pride in showcasing themselves as more tech-savvy and modern when compared to the rest of the competition. The availability of live feeds has become a big factor for parents when they select a daycare centre or a school for their children because the freedom to check if the children are safe and sound comforts them.
Impact of CCTVs on a child’s holistic growth
However, the inclusion of CCTV camera monitoring leads to diminished trust between the caretakers and the parents. The constant monitoring via live feeds also results in the invasion of privacy of the children, the caretakers as well as the privacy of the institution. Parents nowadays have less faith in the caretakers as they are more anxious about their children and rely more on technology instead of keeping in touch with their children’s teachers or caretakers. The child will communicate through more than words and body language. As parents, it is one’s responsibility to keep open and understand all lines of communication with a child.
Then comes the matter of the security of the children. Just the installation of CCTV cameras in daycare centres and schools doesn’t guarantee an environment that is completely safe and secure. Institutions must carry out thorough and stringent background verifications and checks when hiring staff. CCTV cameras are not completely fool-proof as they can malfunction, break down and be tampered with. The task and responsibility of providing safety and security to the children is that of the institutions as well as the parents themselves.
Overly-attached parents or helicopter parents can have a hard time with their children when they enter their teenage years as it will lead to conflicts over the issue of privacy and their parents controlling nature. While some children will feel safe and reassured not every child would be okay with the fact that their parents are watching them throughout the day.
A lot of teenagers revolt against parents regarding their privacy and growing up in such an environment. The constant reminder that their parents are monitoring them can result in them hiding their true motives. This will result in a lack of honesty and transparency in their relationships. Such behaviour will also cripple the communication a child has with his or her parents as there won’t be any motive to freely express themselves.
Conclusively, parents should build trust with the institution and its staff before placing their faith in CCTV cameras. At the end of the day, narrating stories about their day is an encouraging routine for the child. When they share the happenings of the day with their parents, it brings a sparkle in their eyes.
When parents are always aware of what goes on in the daily life of their children’s, it removes the element of surprise from their lives. It negates the need to talk to the children’s about how their day was and what they did during the day as the parents already know everything. Instead of relying on technology to safeguard their children, parents should place their faith in the people who are involved with their children’s care.
(The writer is Co-Founder and COO of Ipsaa. Views are personal.)