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Is the Web Cam a Security Savior or Parents Worst Nightmare?

Aug 17, 2007
A web cam for home security with a "remote viewing" feature has been in the news lately. One story was wonderfully positive and shows the amazing life saving power of a home security surveillance camera. The other story was a cautionary tale to parents about the dangers of child pornographers and cheap web cams in children's bedrooms.

Is a home security web cam a security savior or a parent's worst nightmare? The answer is YES.

Saving A Life Half Way Around the World

In November, 2005, when a 69 year old diabetic artist from Norway, living in California, collapsed from low blood sugar, she might have died if it hadn't been for her web cam for home security.

Her son in the Philippines saw her lying motionless on the couch through her web cam's remote viewing feature. He could see live action in his mother's living room, even though he was half a world away.

Knowing she is vulnerable as a diabetic, when he called and could see through the web cam security camera that he got no response from her, he became alarmed. He knew she was in danger. He tried to reach California emergency authorities with an international call from the Philippines, but couldn't get through because he wasn't sure whom to call.

He called his brother in Bergen, Norway. Luckily, his sister-in-law, an American, knew just how to reach emergency responders in the California town and an ambulance was on its way immediately, arriving in 5 to 10 minutes. The woman's life was saved.

Other Uses for Web Cam Surveillance

There have been other stories of web cam remote viewing saving the day for someone. There are several stories of families on vacation checking in on their web cam for home security from their resort hotel room and seeing a burglar in the act of pilfering their home. The protection of their web cam let them make a quick call to their hometown police and the crook was caught!

Many people use a web cam for home security as a "nanny cam" allowing them to check up from work on how their children are being treated. Others use this cheap home security camera to monitor home repair people or maids, guarding against potential theft.

The Dark Side of Web Cams For Children

The second story in the news lately about a web cam with remote viewing centered around a vulnerable teenage boy who was exploited for child pornography. The 19 year old boy testified in early April before the House Energy and Commerce committee about the dangers of unsupervised children's web cams.

Parents, pay attention to this story.

When the boy was 13, he got a web cam as part of a deal with his ISP. Neither he nor his divorced parents thought much about it or the need for safeguards. He was lonely and hoped to use it to make friends his own age online.

Instead, a pedophile sent him a message within minutes of his image showing up on a community web site. More men followed. The lonely boy thought they were his friends, interested in him. Soon one of the men offered him $50 to take off his shirt in front of the web cam surveillance camera and helped him set up a PayPal account. Things got much, much worse and dangerous for the boy after that. He recently turned over to the Justice Department the names of 1500 child molesters and child porn subscribers.

It's Up To You

The good news is that a web cam for home security can be insurance, a way to reassure yourself that things are going well in your home when you are away. It can provide a surveillance camera for a baby's or ill relation's room.

The bad news is that the same home web cam for home security can also be used to invade your family's privacy. Unless you set up a defense against it, a home security web cam can broadcast pictures of your loved ones and details of your house's vulnerabilities onto websites criminals can view.

If you buy a web cam for surveillance and home security, be sure you learn its workings thoroughly so you only have it turned on when you intend for it to be on. Make sure it is only sending pictures where you intend.

Remember, an unsupervised web cam in a child's bedroom is an invitation for potential trouble. You may want to keep the web cam in the supervised areas of the house, and disable the feature which streams your web cam's pictures onto an internet site.

Do your homework and find web cam home security software which provides features like motion detection, scheduling, email alerts and more. A web cam for home security can provide you with a good safety measure, but only if you choose the right system and use it properly. It's also important to realize that a web cam system is only as good as the monitoring it gets. Before you invest in and install a web cam system, be sure to compare the professionally monitored home security systems recommended by most police departments. It costs nothing to get a quote.
About the Author
Owen Walcher is a freelance writer, writing home security articles such as Using Web Cams for Home Security You can find more home security alarm system articles here: http://www.home-security-alarm-systems.com/
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