SEOUL – Sales of surveillance cameras are surging in South Korea after a day care center worker was caught on camera earlier this month knocking a toddler to the floor, spurring calls for closer monitoring of schools and child care facilities.
Some parents have kept their children at home amid angry demands for measures to protect children, including more cameras and tighter screening of staff, as subsequent footage of other day care abuse incidents emerged.
Police arrested the worker on Jan. 15. Prosecutors have yet to charge her.
The Education Ministry said last week it planned to require that 90 percent of kindergartens install surveillance cameras by next year. Parliament has introduced a bill to require all day care centers to install cameras, and is expected to pass it in March.
Auction, a large local online shopping outlet, reported sales of surveillance cameras rose 40 percent from Jan. 9 to 22 compared with the same period a year ago. G-Market, another online mall, said sales of surveillance cameras are up 37 percent in the past month. The sites did not give specific sales figures.
Auction cited the day care abuse case and demand from child care centers, as well as rising camera use by hospitals and other public facilities, fueling the rise in sales.
“It looks like there was a large impact with CCTV cameras because they are related to children’s safety,” said Kim Sun-seok, who manages the sale of digital products at Auction.
Lee Ki-sook of Ewha Women’s University, who teaches early childhood education, said day care centers also need to tighten staff certification procedures and increase wages to address the problem of abuse.
“Installing CCTV cameras won’t solve everything,” she said.
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