Li’l Big Brother: China’s Kindergarten Surveillance Program

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There was a series of horrific, and well publicized, school attacks in China last year, but there has to be a limit to school security and surveillance programs. I’m all for more guards, campus visitor controls, etc. But installing cameras in the classroom so that Mom and Dad can constantly monitor junior’s safety? I don’t think so.

Why do I have the feeling that this doesn’t really do anything to protect the safety of kids but is rather a feel-good measure pushed by school administrators and opportunistic electronics manufacturers?

“We have paid hefty amounts in school fees. With the help of the cameras and the Internet we will be able to track the progress of our wards and also understand how well they are coping with other children,” said Huang Xuefeng, the father of a 3-year-old girl in Longfor Fengxiangting Kindergarten in Chongqing, an elite preschool in the municipal city. (China Daily)

“Elite” preschool, huh? So the monitoring is also being sold as an added-value service.

Teachers hate it, particularly since it is video only (no sound), and I bet that kids, particularly older ones, won’t be thrilled if this is expanded to higher grade levels. Can you imagine what your 13-year-old daughter would say if she knew that Mom and Dad could peep at her while she’s at school?

Pull the plug on this bad idea ASAP.

7 responses on “Li’l Big Brother: China’s Kindergarten Surveillance Program

  1. Nancy

    I suppose you do not have a kid yourself. I am mother of a 2-year-old girl and have paid much attention to the kindergartens near our house, as my girl will possibly go to kindergarden later this year. All the kindergartens i have visited claimed to have cameras in the classroom so that parents could go to their website and monitor their kids. I think it’s not only for the sake of safety. Many parents, me included, are worried that their kids may not be properly cared or even mistreated. There have been quite a good deal of reports about kids mistreated in kindergartens.

    1. Stan Post author

      I have no idea what my opinion would be if I was a parent. As a teacher, though, I can tell you that it sounds horrible, and I don’t even have to deal with parents (my students are adults). I think that there’s a fine line between concern and paranoia.

      1. Nancy

        Previously I never doubt that kids are taken good care of in kindergartens, as my teachers had taken care of me. But after those horrific reports… you know. Also, your students are adults. That’s the keypoint. I don’t think you ever imagine giving them mistreatment or coporal punishment (i’m not sure whether this is the right word). For kids, things are totally different.

        By the way, I admit that kindergarten teacher is really a demanding job. To be frank, if i were a teacher, i will feel uncomfortable to be monitored by a camera all the time.

        1. Stan Post author

          That is a tough job. I know I couldn’t handle it. My students are in their 20s, and in fact, corporal punishment has crossed my mind on several occasions!