Pulse: Chatter: Big Mother Is Watching

The latest in summer-camp spyware

In this age of hyper-vigilant helicoptering, summer overnight camps are stepping up efforts to convince parents it’s okay to let Junior out of their sight. The latest tactic: A growing number of camps allow Mom and Dad to keep tabs long-distance via online photo galleries of daily activities. Not only can parents download pictures of Noah frolicking with his buddies; they can e-mail the good times to Grandma and Grandpa, too!

Access comes at a price, of course. With Secaucus-based Axiom Communications’ Pixiom system, parents pay $15 a week for unlimited photos, or $80 for a whole summer’s worth. Pixiom also has an option where Mom can upload a photo of Emma and have her camp’s daily galleries scanned, via facial recognition software, for photos featuring  her. It’s the same technology, Axiom prez Ron Simoncini says, used by “a number of government agencies that require top-secret clearance.” Cool! And why waste time spying on strangers’ kids?

Pinelands Center camp at Mount Misery, New Jersey, is rolling out Pixiom this year. “Parents want to see the kids and know what they’re doing,” the camp’s development director, Brandie Lynn, says, noting that campers typically aren’t allowed to get phone calls or send e-mails. When parents are used to being connected to their offspring 24/7 via cell phones and Facebook, Lynn adds, “A week away is a big deal.”