Summer Camps Are Using Facial Recognition Tech on Kids—But Is It a Good Idea?

With the growing number of privacy concerns about facial recognition software, it’s not a huge surprise that some parents take issue with the use of new photo technology during their kids’ summer camp stay. Waldo Photos uses facial recognition to pinpoint specific children and text photos of them straight to parents. Even though this is a major convenience for some, watchdog groups aren’t entirely sure about this type of tech.

If it’s been a few decades since your own camp experience, communicating with mom and dad has dramatically changed. Forget about the handwritten notes, today’s campers text, email, Facebook and find other ways to share their experience with family and friends back home. Turns out, it’s even a lot more complicated than that nowadays, too.

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Photo: Pixabay via Pexels 

Instead of relying on counselors to snap pics of their campers constantly, many camps hire a dedicated photographer to document every day. The camp then uploads the photos to a secure site (most require a parental access code) and there you go…tons and tons of daily camp photos.

The problem comes when parents aren’t exactly pleased with the idea of searching for their one child out of the many, not unlike a “Where’s Waldo?” experience starring your kid. To solve this dilemma, Waldo Photos (get it?) uses facial recognition to make viewing everyone’s pics just to find your child a non-issue.

Here’s how it works—your child goes to summer camp and you submit a selfie or headshot of them. The facial recognition software learns your child’s face and scans the gazillions of camp photos for it. In other words, you don’t have to sift, click and shuffle through dozens (or even hundreds) of pics just to find one of your happy camper.

What’s the worry here? While most parents are pleased with the service, some groups feel that facial recognition technology (in general, and not specifically Waldo Photo’s service) opens us all up to a world of privacy invasion. While yes, uploading your photo into a facial recognition technology service provider’s database could pose problems in theory, will it stop parents from using this type of program? Probably not.

So far, the service hasn’t had any privacy issues, making it a-okay in this busy parent’s mind.

—Erica Loop

Featured Photo: Pixabay via Pexels 


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