Home Monitoring Systems—Good or Bad Christmas Gift?

Home monitoring systems are often touted as being one of the best investments a homeowner can make. Think about it: the devices let you keep track of your home and family while you are away, and with the latest technology integrated in the systems you now have the option of keeping tabs on your home and your children (when you leave them alone or with a babysitter) via your cellphone.

Advances in technology allow you view what’s going on at home when you’re gone by providing live streaming video 24/7. Can you imagine… leaving your teens home for a night and being able to observe each and every guest they invite over. Or, better yet, monitoring the person (people) your babysitter invites over after he/she puts your children to bed with just the press of a button. I love the idea that I can go out to dinner at a restaurant, leave my daughter at home, and with the aid of my cellphone watch what the babysitter is really feeding her. (God bless advanced technology!)

The program I’ve been looking into is called “Homesight.” Here’s how it works: Once you install the security cameras in your home and hook up the system you contact your cellphone provider. Using your cellphone you are then able to gain access to live video of what’s going on in your home–from a door opening to a car pulling into your garage.

Sounds great, right? Well, like any product there’s a downside to this one too. Consider this: if you or your husband call dial in to monitor your home, could hackers get access too? Security experts say there are holes in these home monitoring systems. That’s why they say it’s vital that you purchase one that offers security features… and make sure you turn them on. If you have Wi-Fi, that’s another door open for hackers.

Home monitoring systems will set you back about $500. In addition, some also charge a monthly charge, but they’re relatively easy to set up. Personally, I think a home monitoring system would be a wonderful Christmas gift to give or receive. Having an extra set of (electronic) eyes to keep tabs on your property and your family… what’s not to like? As for the issue that the technology leaves you vulnerable to hackers, I would just take extra measures to ensure that you purchase a system that offers a variety of security features.

Do you have a home monitoring system? Would you recommend it to other families?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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