Mother’s video surveillance of daughter angers Facebook users

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 March, 2013, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 March, 2013, 5:03pm


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A screen shot of a video of a Hong Kong mother monitoring her young daughter doing homework has upset many Facebook users, the Singtao Daily reported on Wednesday.

The woman recently posted the photo of her daughter on her Facebook account, the newspaper reported.

The photo, which appears to be a screen shot from a video, shows a young girl doing English homework. The child’s face cannot be seen.

The woman admitted the girl was her daughter and she recorded the video through a webcam installed on her daughter’s desk lamp. “…[Today’s homework]progress is not bad, but she kept talking to herself, and was singing while doing [homework],” the woman commented on the video.

Despite some parents applauding the woman, other Facebook users criticised her for monitoring her daughter too closely, the report said. Some said she had violated the girl’s privacy. Others said she was putting too much pressure on such a young child.

“Today you are monitoring her doing homework, but tomorrow will you look at what she writes, watch her using a computer or even bug her telephone? Isn’t she being treated worse than a prisoner?” one Facebook user asked.

In response, the mother argued that her actions had been reasonable. “For a five-year-old child, monitoring and assistance are necessary,” she wrote and said she took issue with people’s use of the word, “privacy”.

The Daily reported she took down the photo of the screen grab on Tuesday morning. In a new message, the mother said: “I sincerely apologise for any uncomfortable feelings I might have given some people seeing the video of my daughter doing homework…”

But in an interview with the newspaper, she said monitoring children was common practice for many parents. The woman said she did not do the child any harm. “[I] understand people want to help children, but I cannot please everyone,” the newspaper quoted her as saying.

Legislative Council member Charles Mok told the Daily he believed the incident resembled an “online trial” and people had “over reacted”. Nevertheless, he said parents also needed to be “extra cautious about children’s privacy.” Mok also advised parents not to publish any information online about their children – unless absolutely necessary.