Ongoing communication

By Audrey SomnardLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to French for original article

Connected objects, tracked phones, filmed nurseries and homes – the younger generation is being monitored to reassure parents about their well-being. This incessant communication raises questions.

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"She did a jigsaw puzzle this morning and had a two-hour nap this afternoon, but she didn't eat very well at lunchtime, so she made up for it with a snack." This is the ritual every evening when Romain picks up his daughter from nursery, and the staff give him a quick summary of his little one's day. To keep him informed, to give him a sense of being there, and above all to reassure him that his child is doing well and that she is in good hands. It doesn't matter that this news will probably be forgotten in the minutes that follow, it was given. In our society, where we are constantly bombarded with information, childcare facilities are also using the tools at our disposal to provide almost real-time information on children's activities, with photos, schedules, menus and other updates appearing all the time on parents' phones.

Gone are the days of holiday camps when the only link with the family was by post. A postcard or two, then on their return a child who was delighted with their stay but who found it very difficult to remember everything that had happened. Today, the link with the family is constant, and parents no longer need to drag the information out of their children; they know what they're doing almost in real time. There are also family WhatsApp groups where you can find out the latest news, often in photos, about each other's offspring. Exchanging private information between members of the same family may seem trivial, but we mustn't forget that these services, which in principle are free, have a stranglehold on sometimes sensitive personal data. Posting photos of your children on public social networks is even riskier, as ill-intentioned people can get their hands on photos and other information about minors.

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