by Dale Connelly, 12/10/99
DC: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free. One new
use of the Internet combines it with cameras in day care centers to give parents
peace of mind about their children.
Here's how it works: The parents engage in productive work at their desks. Their
computer screens show an image from the day care center that's updated every few
seconds so they can keep tabs on their kids.
This is described as a win-win situation for parents and also for caregivers.
It's very new ... so to test it out we decided to invite some parents into the
studio to talk about the potential for this idea ... and as we talk, Brendan and
Shirley Dempsey will watch their 13 month old daughter Nicole on the Internet
over a screen right here on the table. Hi Brendan, Hi Shirley.
Brendan: Hi there.
DC: What do you think of this?
Shirley: Well it's fantastic. I've always felt a little bad about leaving Nicole
at day care.
Brendan: A little bad? More like an emotional shipwreck.
Shirley: To be able to see her and know that she's OK while I sit at my desk ...
that's just great.
DC: And do you see her on the screen here?
Brendan: Yeah, I think she's in this one in the upper left side. Right here. That
pink blob there, is that her?
Shirley: Yes, she wore pink today.
DC: I see several pink blobs.
Shirley: That's her. For sure. Chewing on a sock. We sent it along to remind her
Brendan: She's like a puppy in a lot of ways.
DC: And Brendan ...what do you think of this service?
Brendan: Fine. I probably won't watch it too much. I'm pretty busy at work.
Shirley: Me too. But the idea that I can check makes it much easier to leave her.
I just have it up on the screen ... up in the corner. Like wallpaper.
DC: And you also can put your mind at ease about the quality of the care she's
Shirley: I have no qualms about that. We love her adult day care people.
Brendan: Yeah, I'll enjoy watching THEM. (leering) Especially Heather. What's
she wearing today?
Shirley: Show some respect. Heather works hard.
Brendan: I'll say. She's always bending over and crawling around on the floor.
Look at her now ... she's right under the camera. Man, what I wouldn't give to
be nine months old again.
Shirley: (disgusted) Nine months would be a step forward. Mature-wise.
DC: So this is sounding like it might be a distraction for you at work? Brendan?
Brendan: (pause) Huh? This? No, not really. I'm so busy.
DC: And you, Shirley?
Shirley: Nope. After the newness wears off, I'll hardly even look at ... look
Shirley: Oh my God! How can she do that?
Brendan: Is it Heather?
Shirley: Heather ... that tramp! She lied to me!
Shirley: She told me Nicole wasn't walking, but look! Nicole is walking! She's
up and walking ... she's running! Nobody told me!
Brendan: I don't think that's Nicole.
Shirley: Yes it is! She started walking and nobody told me! I'm her mother! They're
keeping it a secret from me! How could they?
DC: Missing out on some important firsts is ... part of the trade-off.
Brendan: Yes, we knew there'd be some of that. But walking ...
Shirley: Oh my God, she's doing a handstand! I had no idea.
DC: You would think you'd see some of this behavior at home.
Shirley: They must be telling her not to do it at home. It's a conspiracy to keep
mommy in the dark.
Brendan: Honey, I don't think they'd tell the children to keep secrets.
Besides, Nicole hardly understands English.
Shirley: They're going to sell her to the circus. I know it! I'll go to pick up
Nicole one day and the Ringling Brothers van will be pulling out.
Brendan: There, there, honey. The circus doesn't buy children.
Shirley: Why doesn't this thing have sound? (angry, pounding on tv) I want to
hear how they're poisoning my daughter's mind against me!
DC: She's twirling a baton now.
Shirley: (anguished) Agh! I wanted her to play soccer! Now it's too late! What
have they done? My baby!
Brendan: Maybe we should leave.
Shirley: I wanna call the County Sheriff.
DC: The one thing that doesn't fit here is that ... at 13 months, Nicole shouldn't
have the coordination to twirl a baton.
Brendan: (offended) What are you saying?
DC: This is an older child you're looking at here. Maybe Nicole is this other
pink blob at the back of the room. See? Chewing on a sock?
Shirley: Oh! Yeah, maybe! Sure. Then it's OK.
DC: And this child doing the acrobatic routine here ... this is obviously not
Brendan: I have to admit I don't see that much of her. Very busy at work.
Shirley: Me too.
DC: So ... mixed feelings about Kid Cam? .
Shirley: No, I love it. I still love the service. I find it ... soothing. Mostly..
Brendan: Maybe I should swing by there anyway on my way back to the office. Just
to check up.
Shirley: Would you, honey?
DC: Make sure you check up on the right kid.
Brendan: Heather can point her out to me.
DC: Brendan and Shirley Dempsey ... parents who are taking advantage of the power
of the Internet to watch their daughter on a closed circuit camera while she's
at day care.
Dale Connelly Reporting Home