Minding The Kids On The Net

PARENTS WHO WORRY about their kids in day care may soon find reassurance at the click of a mouse. WorldWide Access in Chicago is testing a system called KidCam that lets parents with Internet access observe their child's day-care room on their PCs--and even enjoy a scheduled teleconference.

For security reasons, parents at participating day-care centers are asked to register and use membership numbers and passwords. Once that's set up, they log on to the center's Web site remotely and navigate to their child's room. If the parent's PC has a video camera, a feature called Kid Chat permits videoconferencing.

Kathleen Vrona, vice-president for marketing and sales and a co-founder of WorldWide Access, says the system has received good reviews in trial centers such as Rainbow Child Care & Learning Center in Naperville, Ill. In addition, as many companies that offer on-site day care have discovered, parents who are resting easy about their children's well-being tend to be more productive at work, Vrona says.

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