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Helicopter Parents Asking Day Care Centres For Pictures Of Their Kids Could Be A Safety Threat

Helicopter parents and their need for updates throughout the day from day care centres could be doing more harm than good.

And no, a helicopter parent is not a pilot. It refers to a parent who hovers over their child constantly for fear of them hurting themselves, or for fear of missing out on something important. 

But the need for constant updates on children in daycare has many experts concerned, and are insisting that childcare workers must not use their personal phones to take pictures and videos of children in their care. 

Talking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Hetty Johnston, co-chair of the National Office of Child Safety Advisory Group and founder of child protection charity Bravehearts warns, “What you need is for your children to be safe, and cameras are a risk. Parents need to decide if they want a pretty picture or a safe child.”

Nesha Hutchinson for the Australian Childcare Alliance says most care centres have rules against using personal devices, but it’s “unfortunately common” that educators spent their days photographing children, which in turn creates an unnecessary risk of images ending up in the wrong hands. She added that educators did not enter the field to be “digitally scrapbooking” children. 

The Australian Childhood Foundation’s CEO Dr Joe Tucci said photos are a useful means of communication between facilities and families but require strict policies. He warns that even innocent pictures are able to be doctored by artificial intelligence.

“We should not allow sex offenders to dictate the kinds of positive experiences and relationships children can have with their workers ... but we need to make are there are some risk mitigation strategies,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. 

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) will work with the Australian Federal Police on the authority’s review of the nation’s child safety rules and will deliver an interim report at a meeting of state and territory education ministers in October, before handing down a final report in December.