tirsdag 12. oktober 2021

Lights, Camera, Classroom: Big Mother Is Always Watching

The wide-angle image from the surveillance camera up on high is washed out, silent, and freezes intermittently. Below, the staff at this nursery school in eastern China are aware of the many “eyes” always looking down, always watching. In her office in Weifang, in the eastern Shandong province, 29-year-old Luo Huan worriedly glanced at the surveillance footage on her phone — it tracked her two-year-old daughter Lili at school in real-time through a smartphone app.

On a phone screen, Lili was only as big as her thumb, but Luo was still on edge. Watching the live feed in April, Luo noticed her normally naughty daughter was uncharacteristically quiet, with her head lowered while picking at her hand. It was almost as if she’d been wronged but didn’t dare speak up. The older children were outside for physical exercises, leaving her daughter alone in class.

Luo isn’t the only one monitoring her child in school. Over the last few years, a string of child abuse cases in kindergartens across China triggered a public outcry. With teachers and parents anxious about preschoolers, surveillance cameras in schools surged.