update: my coworker watches a daycare livestream all day

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose coworker watched a daycare livestream all day? Here’s the update.

I took your advice to mention it to management because we randomly had a training that made it clear that, yes, this is the sort of thing I should be discussing with my manager.

What happened was that not long after you posted my letter, my organization hosted a coach training where it became apparent that expectations and approaches for the role vary widely to an extreme throughout the company. They shared official forms showing coaching plans and goals from the coach, coachee, and management perspectives. These plans did include discussions between the coach and management on performance of the coachee . Those of us already in coaching roles were completely baffled since this was the first time we had seen or heard anything about coaching plans.

I took the forms to my direct manager and asked why I hadn’t seen them before, and if we were supposed to be using them. He hadn’t seen them either! But it did prompt a frank discussion on my coworker’s performance where the daycare livestream issue was mentioned only as an aside, not the primary area of concern. We haven’t revisited the forms since then; apparently my organization just chooses not to use them even though they are normal elsewhere in the company.

After that discussion, management did start monitoring my coworker’s situation much more closely with biweekly meetings instead of monthly and setting much more clear expectations for her. She still has not been promoted, but I know her performance has improved and it is something they are actively working towards.

I appreciated the reminder in the comments about anxiety and that it can look like a lot of different things. She and I typically are pretty open about those sorts of things, so I don’t think it was that. We’ve had lots of working mom discussions since then and I think what it comes down to is that she would love to be a stay-at-home mom. But that isn’t an option for her so she is now learning how to balance work and home better. I think she is also realizing that if she wants to continue to be the super involved room-mom-type, her career progression will likely stop after her first promotion. And there is nothing wrong with that, it is a well paid position with good job satisfaction, she just needs to manage her expectations.

Now for the real question — does she still watch daycare livestream at work? Yes, she does. But in a much healthier and more job-appropriate way. She pops on while she’s eating lunch and that’s about it.

{ 124 comments… read them below }

  1. Toddler Teacher*

    I truly can’t express enough that I would quit my childcare job if they tried to install live-streamed cameras in the classrooms. This sounds like a nightmare.

    1. Hedgehug*

      A lot of daycares and preschools have them, it’s becoming an expectation. My daughter’s preschool does not have live streaming, they just upload photos throughout the day to the app which is good enough for me. If her school had live streaming, it would be tempting to watch which in my opinion is just not healthy.

      1. Toddler Teacher*

        Yes. The center I work at uses the app as well, they’re pretty unavoidable these days, but parents are already one of the worst parts of early childhood education, I can’t imagine what I would do if they were literally watching me all day.

      2. VermiciousKnid*

        I’m in the process of touring preschools and it’s either livestream or a bunch of daily pics through the app at all the places I’ve toured so far. It’s definitely an expectation these days, and I’m all for it. My kid isn’t talking yet. He can’t tell me if he was in a toddler fight club at school. It gives me peace of mind.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Is that a common or well-known-of occurrence? There was a scandal in my town a few years back where the day-care workers were making the toddlers fight each other while they took bets on winners and losers, and it was one of the most awful things I’ve ever heard.

          1. Alexander Graham Yell*

            I genuinely think VermiciousKnid was trying to come up with something so horrible and absurd it couldn’t actually happen and just….humanity managed to bring the bar back down into hell.

            1. Bees*

              It’s not common but back in 2018 there was daycare that got in trouble for a toddler fight club. It was all over the news for a time because it was the wildest thing to hear about a daycare and toddlers. In my area that didn’t die down until the next big daycare story with the daycare teacher purposely terrifying toddlers for a laugh some years later.

              Both stories aren’t “the standard” but it those definitely help some parents feel justified with the live feed and/or regular photos, because a few bad apples rotted the whole dang tree.

            2. Breaking the First Rule of Fight Club*

              There’s been a story about a daycare toddler fight club in my city this year…

          2. Spiritbrand*

            I’ve never heard of that, but I did pass by a park a while back and they were holding baby races on the grass.

            1. Glitsy Gus*

              That sounds really adorable unless there was also a Kindergartener running an on-track betting booth.

        2. Hedgehug*

          My biggest piece of advice is get to know the other parents. You’re going to see them everyday at pickup and drop off, start with hellos, getting to know the names of the other children’s in your child’s class. The parents will love knowing “Oh your Lisa’s mom! James talks about Lisa all the time!” etc. Once they get a bit older and start talking more, you won’t need a live stream camera. Your child will be give you all the gossip in the car on the way home, haha.
          My daughter tells me who cried that day and why. And when one teacher behaved inappropriately (nothing too serious), it spread like wildfire through the preschool. 5 different kids told their parents identical stories.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            That only works for verbal kids, and even when my son was verbal he didn’t talk much about what happened so…

      3. Lady Kelvin*

        Mine also has lots of photos, which I love. I sometimes wish we had a camera into their day, I’d love to see how my kids act and interact while at daycare. They are so different than when they are at home!

    2. Jane*

      For what reason? It’s becoming common. Tiny children cannot advocate for themselves and there have been many horror stories. It’s also protective for child care workers should they be accused of bad behavior wrongly.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        Yeah, I don’t see this as being any different than having security cameras in a fast food restaurant or retail store.

        1. Felicia*

          Because it’s not just management watching, or having it as a backup in case they need a record. It is customers constantly watching, and those things are pretty easily hacked. Where should it end? High school? Helicopter parenting is absolutely toxic, and this story is a perfect case study of how surveillance enables that.

          1. Jennifer Strange*

            It should end when the person in question is able to speak up and state when they are being mistreated? Yes, helicopter parenting is toxic, but I don’t believe that’s what this is. This is parents being able to see if their child is being mistreated (something that happens). As for being easily hacked, that’s true of all recording devices, so I’m not sure why that’s a point of contention here.

            1. TJ Morrison*

              It’s possible to have security cameras on a private network, but parent cams are required to be internet accessible. This doesn’t guarantee security cameras are more secure, but they do have a greater opportunity to do so.

            2. MassMatt*

              This coworker is literally watching the video all day, making comments such as “she didn’t eat her snack”. That’s helicopter parenting.

              And yes anything can be hacked, but live video of children, where their exact location is known, is a sicko gold mine.

              1. Kyrielle*

                Yeah, I’d be worried about the livestream for this reason and also because – while I researched providers for my kids and trusted them – I did not and could not research all the other people with kids in the day care. (And before you tell me fellow parents should be safe, well, we had one locally with a 12-year-old daughter who tried to drug her sleepover guests. Having a kid doesn’t mean you aren’t a sicko, and a livestream does not know who’s watching and hide the other kids.)

                Security cams? Yes please. Secure, on-site, available when there is a question or concern. But livestreaming? As a parent, please, no. It’s still probably fine (statistically, there’s likely only a bunch of nice and slightly harried people as parents here, and probably no sicko is targeting any individual center)…but it isn’t more-useful than a security setup, so why take the risk?

              2. Jennifer Strange*

                I wasn’t talking about this particular parent, though, I responding to the idea of having the streaming at all.

                1. Cat Lover*

                  There is a HUGE host of problems with live streaming not only kids, but workers as well. Should things be recorded in case something happens? Of course. But constant live streaming is just a huge invasion not only on the workers but on other kids.

                  Not only sickos out there, but I have seen this with custody battles, etc. Let’s say I’m watching my kid and I take a screenshot or recording of the livestream. Now not only do I have a picture/video of my kid, but I have that of other kids as well. What if that goes on social media?

                  On the worker side, constant big brother surveillance is BAD.

              3. Ismone*

                If a preverbal child isn’t eating snack, the daycare provider should be telling the parent. It can be just a daily eh whatever, or a big deal.

      2. Janeway, Her Coffee In Hand*

        Turn this around and imagine that this was your boss at an office job watching you on camera every second of the day, scrutinizing your every move, then showing up at the end of every day to interrogate you on why you didn’t answer his IM immediately when you were at your computer or why your bathroom break was five minutes instead of the usual two.

        We’d say that boss was crazy and call that a toxic work environment. This is what live streams subject daycare teachers to. Constant scrutiny of their every move by parents who want their own child to be top priority at all times. You took a second to pick up Jimmy when Jane was crying? How dare you, you’re incompetent. You let Stacey toss goldfish on the floor where Jack ate one? Disgusting, you should have your license taken away.

        It’s not healthy or normal to need this much scrutiny on what’s happening with your child. Daycare teachers are already severely underpaid and stressed. They’re doing their best. If you don’t want to or can’t watch your own child, you need to trust the people you leave them with to do their jobs.

        1. Pickwick*

          +1000, this dynamic has changed so much in just the last decade, and I’m alarmed by the way people expect to be able to watch each other all the time “just in case.” Privacy (even just the “limited privacy” of interacting only with the people physically present with us!) allows us to act and navigate the world without having to worry about how our every action and phrasing might appear to random people across the globe–potentially years into the future.

        2. Emma*

          YES!!!!! I feel like everyone has gone of the deep end here. If you don’t trust your childcare providers to balance the needs of kids and be safe, find different childcare. I was a nanny and daycare worker for years. Now I have a nanny for my own baby. My husband wanted a nanny cam and I shut that down. It’s creepy and invasive.

      1. Felicia*

        Would you like to work in a job where customers can watch you all day? Maybe even listening to your conversations? It’s not just security cameras that management can check on. And those things are pretty easily hacked and access shared by the wrong people, so literally anybody could be watching.

        1. Ann O'Nemity*

          What are you trying to hide?

          These livestreams are catching providers abusing and neglecting young children and babies who can’t speak up for themselves.

          1. Still*

            You don’t need to be trying to hide anything to be uncomfortable with very close monitoring of your work all day every day.

            I understand that the stakes are high and that the trade-off might be worth it in the end, if it allows for preventing and stopping abuse… But that does not make it any less stressful for caregivers who are genuinely just trying to do their work and take good care of the kids.

            I certainly wouldn’t want someone to constantly watch everything I do at work; it just adds an additional layer of pressure, having to think not only about what the best thing to do is, but how it’s going to look from the outside.

            Again, I’m not informed enough to know whether those live streams are a good idea or not; but I think it’s completely reasonable to find them stressful and unpleasant, whether or not they’re necessary.

          2. MassMatt*

            I didn’t make the initial comment, but I imagine it’s not about hiding anything, it’s about not wanting to invite micromanaged by a dozen (or more!) parents, each of whom is full of ideas about how to do their job.

            1. D*

              Imagine a parent who checks in on their lunch break and out of context sees their child sobbing like the world is ending. Daycare worker says they told the kid he could only have two cookies–a thing toddlers do. Parent doesn’t have any context and throws a fit.

              Feels ripe for error.

              1. Ellis Bell*

                But you can show them the context, and then thank them for being forthcoming and exercising their caution. When you’re dealing with child safeguarding, over-caution is way better for everyone than being undercautious. A little girl died this year at the hands of her carer; it is well understood by childcare professionals that it is part of the industry to be scrutinised and to log everything.

          3. Roland*

            You didn’t answer their question – Would you like to work in a job where customers can watch you all day? Maybe even listening to your conversations?

            “Surveillance is ok because what are you hiding” is such an anti-civil-liberties take. Why not do away with search warrants while we’re at it?

            1. Ellis Bell*

              Why on earth would staff conversations be featured in child protection surveillance and is that actually something that is happening?

            2. Ann O'Nemity*

              Sure, I’ve worked in versions of this where my virtual calls are recorded, and those recordings are then shared back to the customer – and also subject to internal review. (Not apples to apples, I know, but I’m not in childcare.) The “what, why, and how” of the recordings was explained up front, and I knew the requirements when I accepted the job. I think of it less as a civil liberties issue, and more that I’m getting paid to do a job. If I don’t like it, I can look at other jobs.

            3. Ann O'Nemity*

              Also, these childcare providers are already being watched – by the kids. It’s not like they’re going from 100% privacy to Big Brother Police State.

          4. Joan of Snark*

            I feel like this comment is a little unnecessarily aggressive. I don’t think anyone is trying to hide anything, I think the issue is about opening childcare workers up to harassment from the very small but very vocal minority of entitled parents who think they should have complete control over anyone who interacts with their child. I worked in childcare for several years, and we always had a few parents who would come in every morning with a list of everything we had done wrong in the 5 minutes they waited in line to do drop-off. I wouldn’t have lasted a week if those parents could have watched me all day.

            I fully support having security cameras and sending pictures and updates throughout the day, but a 24/7 livestream is too much. Sure, the vast majority of parents will just use it for check-ins, but there is a guarantee that some parents will use it as a stick with which to beat the employees.

          5. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

            There are commenters here who can’t bear even to have the camera on for a weekly video conference with coworkers, so it’s not shady that some people would hate to be filmed every minute every day at work by several customers, none of whom have been vetted.

            It’s understandable why many customers want this, but not shady that some employees don’t – and that they might even leave for another field.

        2. Kara*

          I did my time in retail and I’m now in construction, so yes i am comfortable working in a job where literally anyone could be watching at any time. It’s not that big a deal for me.

          1. BubbleTea*

            There’s a difference between watching and recording. I would straight up not send my child to a setting that filmed all day (livestream or not), because if the management can’t trust their staff and supervisory systems then I sure as shit won’t. Fortunately I’m fairly sure this would be illegal here.

            1. allathian*

              Yes, it would be illegal here too, because it’s impossible to ensure that parents gets access to the stream that their kid shows up in, and nothing else. As a parent, you don’t have any right or reason to see what the kids who aren’t directly interacting with your child are doing.

              Surely a compromise could be reached with recording security cameras that were on-site only rather than streaming. If there are any worries about abuse or bullying, it could be checked later.

    3. KT*

      I’m really curious what your reasoning is behind not wanting cameras…I feel like if my employee had a strong reaction to it then I would feel like they had something to hide.

      Of course, maybe my thinking here is skewed as I’ve been under surveillance for a large part of my working career in a casino and those are as dysfunctional as it gets sometimes lol

      1. Felicia*

        There is a different between surveillance by management and surveillance by dozens of parents (customers), each of whom would have an opinion on their own different way of doing things differently if they were their.

      2. TJ Morrison*

        My largest concern would be non-parents gaining access and using them to gather information for potential abductions.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          That’s a possibility, especially by non-custodial parents. If it’s on the internet, it can be intercepted. The only thing that is really safe is end-to-end encryption, but even that is not 100% guaranteed.

          1. FricketyFrack*

            Ugh, yes, I worked in child support enforcement for a while, which involved reading a LOT of court orders, and there are people who A) are not allowed to have access to their children for very good reasons and B) would 100% take advantage of daycare livestreaming if they could. Fortunately, those people were pretty few and far between on my caseload, but there were a few I can think of that make me absolutely hate the idea of having video of every kid all day long.

      3. Squirrel!*

        Elementary school teacher here…one issue I can think of is the privacy of the other kids. Just because you’re the parent of a child in a class, you don’t have the right to know what’s going on with the students who aren’t your kid, nor is it your child’s classmates’ parents’ business what your child is doing.

        1. Late Bloomer*

          As a former (many years ago, but still . . .), I absolutely agree with you, and I was moved to comment by your breathtakingly perfect use of apostrophes.

        2. GrumpyPenguin*

          If I was a kid in a room with cameras streaming the whole day, it would make me feel very uneasy and probably keep me from participating in class, but maybe that’s just me.

      4. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

        As a parent I would not trust that the camera feed is truly secure and that only parents are watching. And that no parent watching is downloading the video feed

        My kids daycare had a viewing room, at any time, with no notice, a parent on file could show ID and they had a center room with 1 way glass that served as a viewing area along with admin office area. you could watch your kid without the kids getting distracted and the open door policy was very welcoming. Their security was great. It didn’t matter how long you had been coming there, you showed ID and signed in and out.

      5. Undeveloped Film*

        The likelihood of it actually stopping somebody who’s serious about mistreating children is extremely small. The likelihood of it causing a huge amount of unnecessary, unhelpful, and stressful drama on a daily basis is very high.

        This differs a lot from casinos where there’s a material interest/temptation to steal money. That type of temptation is probably more effectively deterred by surveillance.

      6. MsSolo (UK)*

        What happens if a parent isn’t comfortable with other parents that they don’t know watching their kid? Our nursery does photos (individual and a weekly post with group shots for everyone on the app) and there’s a couple of kids who are blurred out because their parents have denied permission to share their images, but that’s beyond the technical capabilities of most nurseries for a livestream. Is this a UK/US privacy laws difference? Would I be unable to deny a nursery permission to livestream my child to people who are strangers to me? (because I am aware that a lot of the US is a childcare desert, which means it may be that nursery or none at all, so it’s not like parents can just remove their kid if they don’t like it)

      7. Ineffable Bastard*

        Imagine not even being able of taking a deep breath, or sigh, after you ended a videocall, without being scrutinized by dozens of people. Imagine dealing with individual and unreal expectations of parents, every day, on what you should have do in situation X. And parents A, B and C disagree on what you should do. It adds to feelings of entitlement and harassment of workers. It’s dehumanizing.

        Besides, when our children start school/daycare, there is a part of their lives we’re not completely a part of. It is normal, it is part of a child’s development and maturing. They should not be streamed for dozens of people, it is also dehumanizing.

        If video of certain areas is made and stored with lots of layers of security, to be used only in case of major incidents, I do not see an issue.

        I am a former education worker, and I am a parent too. If one wants constant filming of their children’s caretaker, they need to make a contract with an individual who agrees with it and hire them to work at their home, because it is SO wrong to have access to other children’s videos. I do not want somebody else and their extended family and their coworkers being able to watch my children and their caretakers.

        1. Janeway, Her Coffee In Hand*

          I worked under a manager who literally complained to HR that I sighed while looking at an email she sent. No clue how she knew it was her email or that I was sighing at it and not something else, but I can say from experience that dealing with that kind of scrutiny is hell. I was afraid to make any noise while breathing around her. No one deserves that.

    4. Selina Luna*

      My son’s childcare does have cameras, but they’re not live-streamed anywhere; they’re just attached to the TV screen at the front. They have them because a 2-year-old might have trouble explaining whether they fell into the bookshelf on their own or bounced off/were pushed by their equally 2-year-old buddy.

      1. PurpleShark*

        Which brings up a good point. Are they really about liability for the daycare? If you can see that your kid got knocked into a bookcase by another kid then you won’t be accusing the workers of harming your child. For the record I understand doggy daycare has the same.

        1. Moose*

          How often should parents be watching in order to be able to see their child getting pushed? This seems like an unreasonable expectation on the parents, TBH.

          1. Jennifer Strange*

            The idea isn’t that the parents are watching at all times, but that if a child gets hurt there is a record of what happened.

            1. Moose*

              That can happen without live-streaming though. Saying that you can see if your child is pushed into a bookcase is an argument for having cameras. But not for live-streaming.

              1. Jennifer Strange*

                Sure, but for some people there is a comfort with being able to jump on and see how their child is doing. I personally just went through a period of needing special services for my child due to developmental delays. One of the things my husband and I were asked was how she plays with other children at daycare. We can’t answer that. Sure, the provider can say “Oh, yeah, she plays great!” but if she’s not trained in developmental delays she may not notice certain signs in her play. Being able to see it for ourselves is much easier in communicating to the person helping us.

                At the end of the day you’re welcome to not want to work in this environment, but so long as it’s clear what’s happening the employees are welcome to decide if this is the job for them or not. Why do you care if another company decides to use this model for themselves? Furthermore, this entire discussion has nothing to do with the letter!

          2. Selina Luna*

            I know parents can watch at other places, but at my kid’s school, it isn’t streamed externally at all. It’s recorded purely internally, and there’s a TV in the lounge where it’s playing. The video files are stored in a way that they can’t be easily deleted or tampered with.

    5. Moose*

      I used to manage an in-home caregiving service and we fired a client because the client’s father had live-stream surveillance cameras in the home that he watched all the time and it became an absolute nightmare after a while. We tried everything to make it work but there was no way. I see you’re getting a lot of push-back here and I just wanted to offer a moment of support. It’s one of those things that I think people just don’t understand unless they’ve been in that situation.

      For the record we had many, many families with security cameras that were always recording. That wasn’t the issue. The constant live surveillance is what became a problem.

      1. Boof*

        I was going to ask, was it a nightmare because of the livestream, or because it was a paranoid micromanager, and the livestream was just a symptom? Do you think you would have been able to keep working with the person if they did all the same things, but livestreaming wasn’t an option?
        I just want to put it out there because my daycare has a livestream and I’m really curious; I didn’t ask for it, I never comment on it, to me it’s the same as having a window parents can look in or whatever. Would folks object to having a window/viewing area?

        1. Moose*

          It was a nightmare because he was CONSTANTLY observing the livestream and second-guessing everything our caregivers (including me) did. People think that a camera shows “objective truth” but really you’re only seeing a very small part of what’s going on. And so you might think a situation is one way, but actually it’s another. So he would be constantly interfering with how we were working with his family member. We actually had worked with this family for several years before the new cameras were installed and it was fine. It was only after he had constant access that it became a problem. And nothing we did could fix it.

          1. Boof*

            Wild, alas! It doesn’t seem any different to me than having a window/being in public but yesh, if someone uses it to micromanage it’d be a nightmare/ untenable

    6. Boof*

      I have to ask what you are worried about? I’m going to guess it’s parents nagging you about things they see on stream, but from a parent perspective, I’m 1) scared of being a burden, it’s hard enough to find child care, plus these are the people literally with my child for long hours, the last thing I want to do is annoy them unnecessarily by being a micromanager 2) it’s really just a bunch of kids in a room going about their daily busienss. It seems way easier to have the livestream if parents want to peak in and see what their kids are up to than having to log photos and events all day. All the childcare concerns I’ve had have had nothing to do with the livestream and everything to do with getting a text notification about something urgent and no phone call, because that text sounds like a billion benign text notifications and I don’t always look at them if I’m busy at work

    7. lil falafel wrap*

      Agreed… it’s such a cop mentality. Surveillance state has never been used to increase the rights of people lol.

    8. JSPA*

      We had something similar (in-organization closed-circuit for a workplace daycare) in the 1990’s. And a (low resolution for privacy) display screen outside the child care area at the gym in the 2010’s. A parent who knew their child by gait and clothing color could spot their kid easily, but for everyone else they were mostly bobbing blurs (ditto the carers) which assuaged a lot of privacy issues.

      If someone had stuffed a kid in a closet or started whaling on them, it would have been clear there was a problem, but nobody could monitor who got the best crayons or only drank half their juice.

      Still seems to me like a reasonable middle ground?

    9. Anti-Big Brother*

      Agreed! Parents who like these cameras, consider whether you would truly be ok with being recorded all day every day at work and actively under surveillance by your boss/client.

      It is different than a security camera. A security camera is either not actively watched at all, or it’s watched by a neutral 3rd party.

    10. Veruca Salt*

      I worked at a daycare that had it, or some primitive version of it, in 1999! So it’s been around a while.
      One day while a parent was picking up his daughter, I opened a drawer to get him a pen. His toddler daughter walked by just as I was opening it, and I hit her head with the drawer.
      The dad scooped her up (appropriate) and angrily berated me for being a stupid idiot (inappropriate.)
      He stormed out threatening to have me fired.
      The next day he came in and told me I was lucky, because when he was complaining to his mother about me and how he wanted me fired, she chastised him, told him he’d do no such thing, and that he was to leave me alone.
      She apparently watched the live feed all day every day, and told him I was very sweet and kind to his daughter and a good teacher over all.
      I didn’t feel lucky, because I still had to have daily interaction with that jerk wad, but it did feel good imagining his mother chewing him out. And apparently he was afraid of getting on his mother’s bad side, because he was always civil at pick up after that.

    11. amoeba*

      Yeah, don’t have kids yet but that’s such a weird and scary thought for me as a European.

    12. GrumpyPenguin*

      This is the first time I’ve heard about livestream cameras in this area. Sounds extremly weird to me. o0

    13. WorkingRachel*

      I find it so odd that people think having cameras is going to prevent or stop abuse. I guess some people are dumb enough or impulsive enough to hit a kid or otherwise mistreat them while being filmed. But if everyone knows there are cameras, I would just assume that if someone is determined to abuse a child, they will figure out how to do it in a place or in a way the cameras can’t catch (which is horrifying, but these are the people we’re truly worried about, right, not the generally okay person who raises their voice in a moment of high stress?).

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        And yet, childcare providers keep getting caught on livestreams abusing kids. The news is full of these stories; it’s not one or two isolated cases.

    14. Fishsticks*

      The daycare my daughters went to didn’t livestream, but we did get the occasional photos. I can think of some daycares where I might want the option – if they’re really big daycares or I had concerns – but the daycare I used was small and I trusted/knew the workers well enough after a while to not worry. I knew my babies were cared for by a cadre of employees who treated them like grandchildren/nieces more than just a job, for the length of time they were there.

      But a daycare where I worried they were being ignored or neglected, I might have wanted the ability to check in. I think this is why it really pays to get to know your daycare provider as well as possible.

    15. cheap rolls*

      Nightmare for the workers. And probably not good for the parents either. A few highlight photos – cool. But watching that a lot? That is not good for the mind. Parents should learn to not have total awareness. If you feel you need it, interrogate that.

      1. Pickwick*

        This applies to the apps and devices that secretly track a kid’s location and report it to the parents. One of my coworkers said she’d gotten her kids phones with that function built in–I’d never heard of that, but it sounds to me like a terrible betrayal of trust. The world grows ever more complicated, as does parenting, but the end goal remains the same: teach your kids to navigate their way through the world, learn who they are both in public and in private; and become self-reliant and resilient.

        Surveillance technology feeds into (and these companies feed on) the worry and paranoia of the parents, but even this kind of 24/7 monitoring cannot guarantee a child’s perfect safety because nothing can, and we’ll build a world that’s absolutely terrible to live in if we strive for perfect safety.

        1. Fíriel*

          If I was a teenager and found out my parents trusted me so little that they had been secretly monitoring my location, I genuinely don’t think I would ever speak to them again. And like the daycare cameras, these things are a nightmare for potential abuse. Sure it’s all well and good if all the parents involved are good people (though then why do they need it) but what happens when someone abusive or dangerous is tracking their kids? I think this goes for some of these advertisements promoting the full-time monitoring of internet access too – imagine the scenario where the kid is gay and the homophobic parent, secretly watching them, finds them googling about it. Or where the child is being abused and trying to seek help. Or, frankly, imagine someone buying this stuff to use on their spouse instead. Every time I see those ads, I get chills.

    16. Meghan*

      Man, as a parent the first requirement I have of a childcare is a secure livestream. Tbf right now my husband is a SAHD because his nieces endured a traumatic assault at daycare years ago, so maybe my anxiety isn’t well founded? But it’s so common in my area I automatically question places without it.

    17. Cheshire Cat*

      As someone who ran a daycare center in my home, I can’t agree more. Uploading photos multiple times during the day would’ve been okay. Daycare folks usually have the kids’ best welfare at heart, and it’s not fair to them to have to deal with being watched every minute because some mistreat the children. Do office workers want to have webcams and keystroke monitors constantly on, so their employers can catch people who are secretly working two jobs?

  2. Archi-detect*

    I really want to make a nanny state joke but Im not sure which direction to take it (Org to co-worker or co-worker to daycare) but either wat that does sound better for all involved

  3. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

    Having worked in childcare I can see the pros and cons. Yes it would feel very Big Brotherly. But you’d have protection as a teacher if someone accused you of anything. Also bad teachers would be caught right there on camera with no cover ups. I remember a daycare or 2 in my capital city having camera’s in the mid to late 90’s. They at the time seemed a little more posh and legit then other daycares.

    1. Nick*

      Our daycare has monitoring in all classrooms, but there is no online option. They’ve explained security concerns that it would be easy to hack into, someone random could be watching the children, etc. which makes perfect sense to me.

      Parents are able to pop in whenever and view live in-person, or review footage if something comes up of concern. I think it’s a great balance.

  4. Kona*

    I don’t know the specifics of your organization and role of course, but I hesitate at the characterization that a “super-involved-room-mother” can’t get promoted. Unless you’re her boss, that’s just not your call to make. (Speaking as a high-performing, promoted-regularly, room-mother type).

    1. Wren*

      I took it to mean that at that company there isn’t enough flexibility for it to be an option, not that no one can ever succeed at both. The OP mentioned being a single mom with older kids in the first letter so I think they’re probably speaking from experience

    2. SofiaDeo*

      I think the description was more along the lines of “someone so invested in watching their kids, they are not paying attention to their job and aren’t performing like their peers”.

      Regarding the “not getting promoted”, of course that is the boss’ call, but sometimes it’s really obvious to coworkers when others are not doing the things generally needed to get promoted.

      Similar to how certain staff would complain they would not often get certain assignments, when they had a history of being unable to do them as others did. I would periodically retry them at it, but, if they were unable or unwilling to complete the necessary tasks, they just weren’t going to get assigned there as often. Everyone in the department could tell who was underperforming, since that work affected a number of others. It was no stretch to reason their underperforming coworkers weren’t going to get promoted, until they could actually perform at a higher level.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      I think that means at this job.

      I can’t get promoted at my job without an additional degree. It’s not that my job is unreasonably stringent or anything, it’s just a standard industry thing that I would need to get promoted anywhere within the discipline, that I have chosen not to pursue because I don’t want the debt and I don’t really want the higher position. Coworker can decide she’s good where she is but if she wants more, she’ll have to put in the work.

      1. All het up about it*

        That’s how I took it as well. Reminding me of a story that circulated on a lot of job things / linkedin a while back from a recruiter who called a guy about a higher role and the guy essentially said “No, thanks. My current role supports my family and lifestyle and lets me still get home for dinners and soccer games. I’m not interested in a role that would require me to sacrifice those things just for more money.” The recruiter seemed shocked that people would think that way, but now after many more years in the workforce, I think the recruiter was just shocked a many thought that way.

        But it’s still an excellent example of no matter who you are, there is likely a point in your career trajectory where something else in your life, be it family, hobbies, travel, your mental health, etc. is just not worth the trade-off for more money and a new title.

        1. Jan Levinson Gould*

          I have a direct report whose name is being circulated for growth (management) opportunities and I was surprised when he said “nope, I’m good for now”. His hands are full with two young children and a spouse who also works. He said maybe in a few years, but not now. I applaud him for knowing his limits and being upfront with me.

      1. vombatus ursinus*

        Native English-speaker (but not from the US) and I had never heard of it either! Apparently it’s a mother who volunteers to help out in their child’s school classroom.

        1. allathian*

          Room parents in Finland are generally more involved in field trips, class fundraising events, and the like. My son’s schools have had open days when parents were invited to attend lessons with their kids, but you can’t just show up on a random day.

  5. MassMatt*

    This company sounds like a mess, in so many ways!

    -“Coach” role given with no clear responsibilities or authority

    -No clear communication about the “coach” role among different areas of the company; documents for setting expectations etc not shared with the coaches. And by the way–the documents sound like manager duties to me! I bet they’re not being paid as managers!

    -Where was this person’s ACTUAL manager? She’s watching video all day and the manager has never noticed?! She was doing nothing from home and it was months before the manager even asked/noticed? And she’s STILL watching video all day?!

    -After all this, AND the employee struggling to do her work, the main worry is how to PROMOTE her? Why on earth hasn’t she been fired?

    I can only imagine this is not the only problem employee that is not being dealt with. Management seems really ineffectual.

    1. WellRed*

      So many coaches, coacheeesabd coach long I’m not sure who’s on first. I am glad the momstreamer is getting back on track

  6. AE*

    I understand the reasoning behind livestreaming the daycare, but doesn’t that create all kinds of other issues? Like, what if someone who is not supposed to have access gets access to the stream, or what if a parent is careless about leaving the stream running on a publicly visible device, and multiple children are onscreen, not just their kid? What if a parent posts a cute screencap of their kid on social media but there are other children in the image whose parents didn’t give permission?

    1. amoeba*

      I mean, already other people (the LW!) are seeing the children in the livestream. And I assume would possibly be able to take photos etc., unless the coworker is extremely careful and so is everybody else. It’s a data protection/privacy nightmare.

    2. Fíriel*

      I assume they force the parents to sign some kind of contract before letting the kids attend (you may film my kid, I promise not to abuse the material), but it feels ripe for abuse!

    3. Snoodence Pruter*

      Yeah, this freaks me out. I know there are multiple kids in my 8 year old’s class who can’t appear in group photos etc. without having the picture edited to hide their face, because of dangerous adults in their lives who are not supposed to know where they are and what childcare settings they attend. A livestream that all parents can access? Yikes on bikes.

      1. Ineffable Bastard*

        Yep. Streaming endangers children who are already in an unsafe situation under the guise of “making things safe for children”.

  7. SillyGoose*

    I work in early childhood ed so I see both sides. That said…
    The highly regarded childcare center our two year old attended for a few months had live streaming.

    Because of that I watched teachers facing the sink with their backs to the toddlers for 5+ minutes (happened more than once, I timed it the second time) while children literally climbed up and jumped off the snack tables onto the tile floor.

    And I watched the teacher change 8 toddlers’ diapers and pullups without washing her hands in between.

    Or *ever* had the children wash their hands before meals or after toileting or when they came in from playing outside.

    And the last straw – I watched an irritated teacher snatch my child’s legs (they were laying on the floor on their back) and drag them 3 feet across a carpet to move them towards toys they were supposed to be cleaning up.

    I left work and picked her up.

    All of that happened within two weeks.
    If I hadn’t had cameras to witness this, I wouldn’t have understood the reason my kid got Hand Foot and Mouth disease twice in six weeks. Or why they had a rash on their lower back (from the carpet).

    ECE workers are grossly underpaid and under-respected. And my child (or yours) can’t be the recipient of someone’s anger or apathy.

    1. allathian*

      Ouch, I’m so sorry your child had such a horrid experience in that daycare.

      My son was in a municipal daycare with some occasional staffing shortages but great employees who really seemed to care for the kids. They were very proactive in talking about any incidents that had happened during the day. We got the occasional photos, but not daily, and a livestream would’ve been unthinkable.

    2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      It’s the diaper changes that are the sticking point for me. If you can see them, then unless there’s excellent end-to-end encryption (which I suspect is unlikely for a daycare) so can sicko hackers. And if you can’t, then the off-camera area is where abuse would occur.

      1. Savor The Peelies*

        Yeah, as glad as I am that SillyGoose’s gosling was able to get out of there, the idea of a livestream of children having diaper changes is just so extremely No. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, that’s way too risky to have out there.

      2. Fíriel*

        I would actually wonder if even creating and distributing that footage might constitute a felony in some jurisdictions. Yikes!

  8. PennyT*

    I’m sure this will be deleted, but I just want to say I’m disappointed that comments were closed on the post about the LW who hated their former boss “Andy.” I’ve been reading this site for years and I am kinda shocked and disappointed that that LW is just allowed to repeatedly dominate posts and comments. Their level of obsession and vendetta is NOT normal. It’s like stalker level behavior. I was disturbed reading those letters. Not every LW is in the right, period.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      I truly don’t understand what being right/wrong has to do with anything. The LWs are asking for help, not an AITA vindication and people shouldn’t be coming here for the entertainment value of shouting down someone just because they may be in the wrong.

    2. Snoodence Pruter*

      Dominate? She was active in the comments but people had ample opportunity to have their say, and did so.

  9. Garlic Microwaver*

    Excuse me… Am I reading this part wrong? “I think she is also realizing that if she wants to continue to be the super involved room-mom-type, her career progression will likely stop after her first promotion.”

    Many of my friends are “super involved,” on school PTAs and are progressing in their careers. What is this comment? Can someone please clarify intent?

    1. MassMatt*

      The coworker is performing poorly and spending all her time watching live video of her kid at day care. This is not someone who is active in PTA, it’s someone who is watching video all day when they should be working.

      Given the video watching still continues even after it’s been raised to the manager, and the manager didn’t realize the employee was doing nothing while working from home for months, we have dysfunctional management. That they are worrying about how to promote this person instead of firing her is further proof.

  10. Just Thinkin' Here*

    This company’s attempt at coaching is really just spying on your co-worker.

    The OP was assigned as a coach with no training or coaching of her own on what the expectations are. Was employee trained on what was expected of them? Lastly, manager assigned OP a coachee who had known performance issues, but provided no additional guidance themselves. Manager has completely disengaged from monitoring employee. This whole coach thing devolved to ‘report back to me if someone isn’t doing their job so I don’t have to supervise the employee myself’.

    Also, coach needs to adjust expectations on whether women and mothers can get promoted.

  11. Crencestre*

    That’s good news about the daycare-watching mom/employee! No wonder her career wasn’t going anywhere; contrary to what we might wish, we really CAN’T multitask nearly as well as we usually think we can. You can concentrate on your job OR you can watch daycare video all day – you just can’t do both at once!

    That said, does anyone else get slightly odd vibes from the idea of this woman being so obsessed with watching daycare vid nonstop? She sounds too much like the kind of parent who puts “family tracker” apps on her adult kids’ phones when they go off to college and then calls them up to scold them about doing anything other than studying and going to class. She also sounds as if she desperately needs to get SOME aspect of SOME kind of life that doesn’t revolve around her tracking HER kid 24/7!

    1. Liz the Snackbrarian*

      It could be that she’s a helicopter parent, but as a non-parent, I know how easily it is for me to get sucked into TikTok or other apps when I’m on my phone. It could be just as much about struggling with screen time as it is watching her kid all day. Neither will fly in most offices so this makes sense.

  12. Elio*

    I don’t get it. What’s the point of using daycare to work if you’re just going to neglect work to watch a live-stream of it? I went to daycare as a kid but it was the early 90s so no one really had digital cameras and the internet was dial-up, if you had it. Glad there aren’t a bunch of videos of me being a silly kid stored in a daycare server somewhere.

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