Big Mother keeping watch in the nursery
Published on 19 April 2007, Ilford Recorder

BUSY mums are keeping a watchful eye on their children at nursery via webcam - Big Mother style.

It is the latest trend in Britain's booming surveillance culture and has led two Redbridge nurseries to offer parents the chance to check up on their offspring on the internet.

The equipment lets mums and dads log on to the nursery's website to see their children at play and aims to put anxious new parents at ease about going back to work.

It is available at Zig Zags Day Nursery, Wellwood Road, Goodmayes and Clementswood Nursery, Grosvenor Road, Ilford.

Mum Leanne Ratford, 35, views her five-month-old son up to four times a day.

The Seven Kings estate agent said: "It's one of the reasons why I went to the nursery. I was extremely nervous about going back to work. I don't go on there all the time, but it's nice to have the reassurance.

"I don't sit there for hours on end, but I log on for five minutes at a time. People say any weirdo can log on and look, but there's an element of that with every part of the internet."

Miss Ratford said she could only view her child and the technology did not allow users to pan the camera across the nursery or log on during sleep times.

Zig Zags has offered the service since September 2005 and says it is has been a hit with protective parents.

Manager Rachel Cook, 26, said: "You can phone anytime to speak to the child's key worker, but by logging in it gives parents that extra bit of reassurance.

"There are once in a lifetime moments like when children are taking their first steps and parents don't want to miss it.

"There were a few concerns about the security and passwords, but it's only mothers and fathers who can have access to the service. Parents can see how an accident happened and feel reassured."