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COLUMN: Smile for the surveillance camera! And pull up your pants

In a world where there are now cameras everywhere, Wendy weighs the pros and cons of what this means in our daily lives
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Where do you come down on those security cameras almost every house and business has?

I’m all in favour of them for businesses, both for their security and ours.

Watched any Dateline lately? Someone is abducted? Police go get the surveillance tape!

This is great if you are the kidnapped. If you are the kidnapper, not so good. They’ll follow your bad self from point A to point B. Of course, that’s if the camera is high definition and the business doesn’t dump it every few days.

The “ring” cameras are so popular now for personal residences as well. I understand it would be an extra level of security on top of heavy-duty dead bolts and outdoor motion detection.

General research suggests we may just feel more secure. With the ridiculously high number of vehicle break-ins and thefts lately, it is likely a smart thing to have.

Same goes for porch pirates. All those Amazon and UPS deliveries by the doorway seem ripe for the picking, so again great protection if you can view the parcels showing up and retrieve them yourself quickly.

These are all pluses.

However, there’s always a downside, right?

We’ve all gotten used to just realizing we are always on camera somewhere at all times. Hence, my dismay when I was out shopping the other day and my baggy pants kept slipping lower and lower down my leg.

Had I been a rapper, I could have pulled it off as “a statement,” but alas I am not and the statement would have been: “Oh my God, that lady’s pants are falling off.”

I panicked and went to a back aisle between the pole lamps and the pans for an adjustment. The whole time I am well aware some poor camera monitor will have to watch me hitching up my britches.

Do you think the staff brought popcorn to that hilarious viewing? Before you ask, the store had no public ladies’ room for a quick fix! So, I can never return to the store because of those damn security cameras.

Recently, I was visiting at a friend's home which has security cameras not only outside, but inside, too. It freaked me out that the homeowner could see her husband sleeping.

The camera isn’t trained on the bed per se — it is so, if they are away, they can see what the dogs are doing if they are on the bed or in their crate. 

But, the point is if a person wanted to they could see someone in the bed. If I knew there was a camera in the vicinity, I would never sleep again.

Honestly, what might happen while we nod off?

Lest we forget, cameras have audio. The horror!

Don’t get me wrong, our 11-year-old selves had great fun yelling into the microphone to rouse the snoring spouse out of a deep slumber, but mature me felt like a voyeur.

As with everything, there are pros and cons with all technology. For crime fighting and home protection, it may be one of the best inventions or not.

According to a New York Times article, Alana Saulnier, a professor of sociology and a criminologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, suggests looking at it this way: A person committing a home burglary is more likely to be conscious of a surveillance camera than two people fighting outside a nightclub.

“A camera probably isn’t going to be a deterrent to someone who is not going to be thinking rationally, if they were willing to be going through that kind of violence in the first place,” she said in the article. “That’s why it could be useful in some contexts and less useful in other contexts.”

But, there’s part of me that fears my every sniff or snort has been caught on film for all eternity.

From now on, will I have to inquire upon entering a friend’s home: “Do you have any dangerous animals and/or security cameras? Please advise of the whereabouts of both.”

In the meantime, monitors aren’t going away.

I will pull up my big girl pants and smile for the camera.

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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