So you added a video monitor to your baby registry? If so, you could be inviting strangers into your nursery. Late last year, news broke of a Russian website streaming content from unsecured webcams in the U.S. and U.K. To many a parent's horror, some of these hacked cameras were broadcasting live from babies' rooms. It's enough to make you want to unplug every single device in your home, right? Luckily, there are several steps you can take to ensure your baby's nursery remains safe and private.
For first time parents, watching their little ones sleep can bring much-needed peace of mind. Instead of tiptoeing into the nursery countless times each night, simply flip on the monitor and watch your baby breathe right on screen. Many video monitors have night vision, temperature readings, zoom controls and a function that allows you to pan the room as well. The short story? A video monitor can help calm the anxiety first time parenting brings.
Many video baby monitors are Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to take a peek in on baby even when he or she is with the sitter. But like anything that's connected to the web, these cameras can be broken into. In recent years, we've even heard eerie reports of hackers gaining control of the panning function, allowing them to swivel the camera-head and take a good look around the room. What's creepier than that?
What to do
Here's the good news: There are several simple steps you can take to maintain your privacy and keep you and your family safe from prying eyes. Just because these scary stories exist, doesn't mean you should scratch that video monitor of your dreams off your baby wishlist. Here's how to keep your nursery private:
- Consider a camera that's not connected to the web. There are several camera models that broadcast baby's image from camera to monitor without a Wi-Fi signal.
- Many cameras come with default login details, ensuring a smooth setup process for busy and flustered parents. The issue here is that parents don't know to change their username and password, making it easy for hackers to break in. When setting up your monitor, change your log-in details to something personal right away.
- Choose a password carefully! Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase, letters and numbers – and for ultimate safety, choose something that's at least eight characters or longer.
- When creating your log-in details, steer clear of identifying information. For example, never choose a password based on your birthday or name – details that can be easily discovered by a stranger on the web.
- If you are really concerned, you could consider changing your monitor's password every month.
The bottom line
The modern world can be a scary place for new parents. But with the right precautions, you can ensure your family's security and privacy remains in tact. There's no reason to scratch that high tech video monitor off your registry – just make sure you take our safety advice to keep your nursery for your eyes only.