"The apple of the eye:
Parents' use of webcams in a Danish day nursery"

Dr. Vibeke Jorgensen*

Child psychologist, Vibeke Jorgensen, conducted a comprehensive psychological research on the use of webcam in modern day nurseries. Below is the summary of Dr. Jorgensen's paper. For the full report, please click here (0.9MB).

Why do parents use webcams?

This study found that webcams are used by parents to fulfil their needs of safety, structure and order (security needs), of love, the feeling of belongingness and friendship (needs of social contact), of knowledge and understanding (needs of personal development).

NurseryCam on Doctors (BBC TV Series)

What do they use them for?

Parents use the webcams because of a need for homeliness and the well known, the child. Webcams give them a feeling that they are actually taking part in the activities in the nursery that they and their child are together even though they are miles apart. "It's the possibility of seeing my son in a situation in which I can't take part, but sense that I do".

Behind the motives of gaining insight lies a need for knowledge. Parents use webcams to evaluate,

  1. The wellbeing of their child;
  2. How these child develops compared to other children;
  3. Relationships between their child and other children;
  4. The relationship between their child and the nursery teacher;
  5. If an activity that the parents appreciate is taking place in the nursery;
  6. Their relationship with their own child and, indirectly, their parental role.

Good parenting and the best childhood in our modern society

Parents of the western world today live in a modernity that is radicalized, which can be contrasted with a traditional society characterized by close connections between time and space, by religiousness and a low speed of change. For good parenting and the best childhood in our modern society, parents often have the conflict between two choices/ schools of thought,

  1. Ideally, the child stays at home - that an emotionally quite intend relationship between mother and child is considered natural and right, and a child needs a stable attachment to one caretaker.

  2. Ideally, the child goes to a nursery - the ideas of the child being competent, able to cope with a multipersonal world, and partly resilent is a newer concept.

This conflict is an important reason for the use of webcams. A webcam can be used as a sort of bridge between ideals reflecting tradition and modernity giving the parent the best of both worlds: they do not have to choose between which of the two sets of ideals they should follow.

A symbol of our time

This study found that webcams can fulfil parents' needs in these areas security (safety, structure & order), social contact (love, friendship & togetherness) and personal development (knowledge & understanding).  It is just one of many modern technologies which over the next few years might change the relationship between children, parents and nursery teachers. The case is a symbol of our time.

* This is a scientific research report conducted by an independent psychologist using independent funding. The author does not endorse NurseryCam nor the use of webcams in day nurseries. NurseryCam has not endorsed Dr. Jorgensen and her researches.

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"Sitting in work after 6 months maternity leave, 1st week back and thinking what am I doing here. I just wanted to see my baby! Thinking what is she doing now, is she missing me. I logged in and she was asleep! So I knew she was ok. Thank you, this is such a wonderful idea."
Parent, Liverpool.


"I have just sent my fourth child to nursery and I feel so reassured. It's comforting to be so involved with his care even though I have to be at work"
Kerri Ehret, Suffolk



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