Peek In At The Day Care Center

WORRIED THAT JUNIOR IS brawling at day care? Or maybe that the tot isn't joining in on all the fun. Worse yet, could the staff be neglecting your child? Now you can assuage those parental fears by peeking in on the day-care center from your desktop computer at work.

Think of it as Big Brother meets Mary Poppins. The new KinderCam system from Atlanta-based ParentNet Inc. uses the Internet and Neteye 200 digital cameras from Axis Communications Inc. for this feat of cyber-snooping. Here's how it works: Point the browser on your PC at ParentNet's Web site, enter your name and password, and presto, you're watching live images of Junior and the other kids happily finger painting.

Over the next two years, Kids `R' Kids, a Norcross (Ga.) company that has a chain of day-care centers in the Southeast, plans to roll out the service in all of its 54 day-care facilities. The company hopes KinderCam will give it an edge in the highly competitive day-care business. Parents pay $20 a month for the service. So far, the 90 parents who have tried the first KinderCam system, installed a month ago at an Atlanta Kids `R' Kids center, are "very positive" about it, says Director Harry W. Fraley Jr. There is an added bonus, he says: Grandparents as far away as Israel are logging in to watch the little ones.