Big Brother Is Watching You

When I was little we definitely did not have the technology we have today. Especially when it came to monitoring our kids, more specifically babies, infants and toddlers.

One of the gadgets that I have noticed that parents typically look at when they have kids these days is some sort of electronic monitor. These can range from basic sound monitors, video and sound monitors to the more elaborate sound and movement monitors such as Angelcare.

We thought it would be best to get some sort of video monitor for the kids’ room. At the time it was just “A”‘s room but now it is the kids’ room as “A” and “W” share the one bedroom.We looked at the baby marketed video and sound monitors such as those from Motorola, VTech and others. Though with their prices starting at about $150 and going up I thought I could do better if I looked elsewhere. Also you see it in the news a lot, the ability to take a baby video monitor handset and drive around a neighbourhood looking at someone else’s video feed.

Foscam FI8910W

That’s where I got the idea of using an IP/Network Security camera. I looked around and found the Foscam series of IP/Network Security cameras on Amazon and looked at the variety of features of one in particular:

  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Ethernet enabled
  • Built-in Webserver to view Locally
  • Pan and Tilt
  • IR Night Mode
  • 2-Way Audio
  • 640 x 480 Resolution

A bit dated (model  FI8910W) as it does not have 720p or 1080p resolution but for just monitoring the kids in their room it works beautifully. It also pairs nicely not only with the Foscam Pro app for our iOS and Android devices, but it also works with my Synology DSM Security camera server as well. Not bad for just under $90 CDN right? I get to secure it via WPA2 on my Wi-Fi network or if I really wanted better security I could just run Ethernet up to it. I don’t have to worry about people driving by with a baby monitor trying to log into the video feed. You have to know which Wi-Fi network the camera is on and then also know what IP address the camera has been given. Not bullet-proof, but a few more hurdles for people to jump if they ever want access to it.

Installation

Installing the Foscam was relatively easy. I plugged it in locally to my network at my desk. Configured it with a static IP then had it associate to my local home Wi-Fi network. Once that was done, I moved it into the kids room and positioned it where it could see both sleeping areas via the pan/tilt boundaries. Great thing is you can mount it upside-down and then flip the video feed to give you proper orientation.

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I’ve also set it up so that when I am at work, I can access the camera remotely. I can check on if the kids are napping (though I do know when they should be napping) but it’s sort of neat to login and check to see what they are doing if they are in nap or quiet time.

I also have played around with a indoor camera by Belkin, the Netcam HD+. My idea would be if each kid had their own room, then we could check on them at night separately.

So Why Do This?

We could check to see what state each child was in. Was there a blanket on their face? Was one of them in a weird position and need to be re-positioned? If one of them was fussy, we could see if they were just rolling around or standing up and needing to be resettled.

It is a great way to look into the room without disturbing them.

Privacy

I know there are some parents out there who are totally all over their kids privacy. Such as posting photos without their child’s own consent to online sources social media websites and such, or having them under video surveillance like this. I know when our kids are older I will be for sure removing the camera from the room, or rooms if that happens, and using the camera(s) elsewhere. But for now it has been a great tool in keeping our minds at ease while we are in another part of the house. I know my wife has been diligent on the SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) topic with both of our children and this has added to ease her mind with that.

Have you looked into video baby monitors? Have you thought about an alternative such as an IP/Network Security camera like this?

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