Cameras in Hong Kong's kindergarten toilets cause a big stink

By Ariel Conant

You'd think there's one place where you can get a little privacy. But that's not the case in at least in one local kindergarten

By Ariel Conant |

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Parents have voiced concerns over the privacy of their children after discovering a kindergarten at Whampoa Garden in Hung Hom had a CCTV camera inside the students' toilet.

The kindergarten, operated by the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children (HKSPC), had told parents CCTV cameras would be installed for school security, but did not mention the location of the cameras.

An HKSPC spokesperson claims that the cameras only show the area where the students line up and wash their hands, and do not record children using the toilet.

Monica Lau, 16, a West Island School student, says this crosses the line. "The purpose of CCTV cameras is to detect any illegal or incriminating actions of individuals that have the potential to harm people. "What exactly do they think kindergarteners will be doing in the bathroom?"

Anushka Purohit, a 15-year-old student at Renaissance College, agrees that bathrooms shouldn't have cameras. "Bathrooms and changing rooms should definitely be off-limits to cameras," she says. "Students should have the privacy to go to the bathroom without being recorded, as should every human."

But Anushka does see the rationale behind security cameras in schools. "It avoids some students from doing things they probably would have done if not for the cameras," she says. And it can protect students as well. "Not only does it cover security, it can also act as evidence in some serious cases."

For King George V School student Tanya Parmanand, 15, whether or not CCTV cameras should be used in schools depends on the age of the students. While she doesn't think kindergarteners need monitoring, she says it is appropriate for secondary schools.

"At a young age, children will not be missing school or taking drugs and alcohol in the bathrooms," she explains.

"There should be less privacy when children get older because they are exposed to more negative influences through the media and their peers," she says.

"For example, numerous students in my school have smoked or taken drugs in the bathrooms during their free periods and their lunch breaks."