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Call to Ban ‘The Elf Cam’ for Children’s Sake
They’re the modern day equivalent of Santa’s naughty list, but the ‘Fake Elf CCTV cameras’ parents are using as a good behaviour incentive this Christmas should be banned, according to security experts CCTV.co.uk.
In a move that might seem unusual for a company dealing in security cameras themselves, CCTV.co.uk are so concerned about the normalisation of surveillance culture that they’re calling for an end to ‘elf cams’ and toys like ‘Elf on the Shelf’.
The security camera company has warned that the fake cameras and spying toys – which parents tell their children are a direct line to Santa and his elves – can be damaging to children’s mental well being and lifestyles both now and in the future.
A spokesperson for CCTV.co.uk said: “While it can be very effective to tell your kids that the pretend camera you’ve bought or made is feeding their good or bad behaviour straight to Santa, it’s actually the beginning of a harmful message we’re giving to this younger generation.
“By having cameras in the home, even if they’re fake, we’re normalising the surveillance culture we’re already living in, and getting children used to the idea of being watched as though it’s a perfectly normal way to live.
“In actual fact, cameras should only be used responsibly and as a security measure, not welcomed into the home as though they belong there as part of daily life. The same goes for toys which claim to be spying on children, this is verging on the creepy and not a concept we should be introducing children to.
“By teaching children about the appropriate use of security cameras, we also teach them that there are limits to surveillance, and places cameras don’t belong. That’s the kind of mindset we should be encouraging if we want to tackle the worrying trend of being watched constantly in our daily lives – something we adults know is not ok.”
CCTV.co.uk have warned that the only solution to protect children is an outright ban on these kinds of toys. Elf on the Shelf, for example, was one of the best-selling toys last year, showing that market trends don’t always line up with our children’s best interests.
What began as a book in 2005, telling children that an elf toy would report their behaviour to Santa, has been translated into a real toy which sits in children’s bedrooms and ‘watches’ them. Good children will then get presents, while naughty children won’t – or so the story goes.
CCTV.co.uk say parents using the toy to scare children out of bad behaviour and encourage good behaviour could simply be story problems for later in life. While this might not be a popular message for adults to hear, it may take this warning from the security industry to put the toys into perspective.
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