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KinderCam Eyes Daycare Children
By Nancy Smallwood, Staff Writer
Forsyth Herald

It happens everyday throughout the world----working parents drop their children off at day care centers and wonder what their day will contain. Did they stop crying after they closed the door? Did they learn a new song? Pay attention to the book at story time?

KinderCam is giving parents the added feeling of a security blanket when it comes to their choice in day care. Camera systems set up in childcare centers allow parents to log on to the Internet web site and view live pictures of their child, updated at about 15 frames per second. "We have a three to five second goal objective and have a long term goal of moving toward full motion. Technology advances all the time and most of it depends upon the Internet connection the parent or guardian is using, " said Sean Connolly, KinderCam President.

The technology is expected to be operational shortly in several Forsyth County day care centers. The Norcross based company was founded in 1996 by a husband and wife team who found it hard dropping their child off at day care center. Although, Connolly said he doesn't see this system as a spy but a push in the development of the children.

"It creates a connectivity between the child and the parent. A parent can better communicate with their child by asking more detailed questions since they have actually have seen what their child has participated in that day," he said.

In one case, Connolly said, that the center had introduced the concept of silverware and the child was eating with a fork and spoon at he center but he parents were unfamiliar with their child's progress and were providing finger foods at home.

"They were surprised to view the child eating in the lunchroom with a fork and later that day asked the teacher about the progress and found their child had being using the utensils for a week," he said. Parents and guardians must have the security code to view the website of their child's center and none of the bathrooms or changing areas are filmed. Most centers have one camera per room, although Connolly stated the future wave was to be three or four per room.

"We give the parent access to their child's room and access areas such as the cafeteria and gymnasium," said Connolly. In addition to viewing their child, there are also many other uses for parents of the systems such as e-mailing questions to the center using the system, viewing the lunch and breakfast menus for the month and receiving messages about when the child care center will be having special event days.

"This is really just an extension of the open door policy many centers already have," said Connolly. He also sees the company expanding with the growth of the child such as providing the system for private schools and possibly even public schools. "It's a challenge we are looking to conquer with over 100, 000 child care centers and less than one percent have the technology in the marketplace," he said.

The company's technical support staff determines the fastest available Internet connection for the center and then arranges the wire connection as well as the Internet service provider, according to Bruce Abraham, KinderCam's marketing and business development representative.

"We are constantly looking for new technology and new applications of the current system," Abraham said. Currently, there are 10 childcare centers that offer the KinderCam service in Georgia. "It is hard to explain how you feel, kind of a warm fuzzy feeling…it is the nearest thing to holding her," said Dan Eagen, a parent user of the system.

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