Dear Ms. Demeanor,
We live in an older building that recently converted part of the laundry room to a children's playspace. Do you think it is appropriate to have cameras installed?
Dear Camera Shy,
Congratulations on the playspace (and I hope the loss of laundry room space means that you and some of your neighbors have been able to install washer/dryers!).
I'm not quite sure what would be inappropriate about putting cameras in the playroom, unless other common areas do not have them. Are you concerned that the caregivers and/or parents with the children will feel somehow spied on or intruded upon? I think they are a wonderful idea no matter how the data is handled--viewed remotely or by a doorman, or recorded.
The cameras do not, however, replace adult supervision of young children. Doormen and security companies are not hired to be babysitters, neither in-person nor via closed-circuit television.
And as a sidenote, if you haven't already, your building would be wise to put detailed rules in place (e.g. children under 12 are not permitted without an adult, only so many children at one time, nut-free or no-food-allowed environment, etc.).
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to email@example.com and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.