Webcams and young children

To help kids stay safe online, Hector’s World has launched a webcam cover for children to use. Kids can download and print the free webcam cover to use with computers at home or school.  Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff with Holly, Ryan Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff with Holly, Ryan and Luke from Northland School with the new webcam covers

Managing Director of Hector’s World Liz Butterfield says, “The cover helps children be aware of the webcam and think about using it before activating the device.”

“Our experience is that many young children using computers aren’t aware of the presence of a webcam, let alone how to manage its use effectively.  This simple paper cover can prompt a valuable discussion between parent and child, or teacher and student, about what a webcam is and how to manage its use safely.”

“Using the cover means the camera becomes ‘default off’, which is best with a young child. We suggest to children: ‘Know when you’re on show’.”

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff welcomes the new tool. “We know from a recent UMR survey that New Zealanders are worried about children’s internet privacy.  There is a need for continued vigilance to protect children and young people. I recommend children and parents have a look at this new webcam tool.”

The cover is available in a number of designs with Hector’s World characters, and in versions for laptop and desktop webcam models. They can be used as a teaching activity for primary schools and early childhood centres as well.

Ms Butterfield adds, “It’s a fun project to make the webcam cover and turns the use of a webcam into an informed choice. Just simply asking a teacher or caregiver whether it’s okay to remove the cover for an online session is a constructive safety strategy for young children.”

“Computer malware that allows remote control of the webcam, termed ‘webcam capture’ is a reality of the internet, so I won’t be surprised if some adults like the extra security of the cover themselves!”