We’re all familiar with the traditional baby monitors, the ones that are essentially a walkie-talkie for yourself and your baby. These typically transmitted staticy audio and had terrible range. Now, there are WiFi baby monitors that record video, have built-in night lights, play lullabies and more. But how safe are these gadgets and are they really worth it?
When it comes to your little one, you’re naturally going to be more sceptical about investing in a gadget for them - more so than you would be about buying a new fridge, for example. But don’t worry. We’ll help break it down for you. So, here’s a short analysis on whether WiFi baby monitors are actually safe or whether you might want to stick to traditional gadgets instead.
How Safe are WiFi Baby Monitors?
The safety and security of WiFi baby monitors is often questioned because of the ability to hack broadband connections and cloud storage systems. Thankfully, most of these high-tech baby monitors have their own highly reinforced security measures in place. In addition, most broadband suppliers provide high-security, password-protected WiFi which should safeguard your baby monitor and recorded data against hackers and other unauthorised users.
There are also ways to ensure your baby monitor is as protected as possible.
- Make sure you buy a secure device. Before you buy a WiFi baby monitor, thoroughly research it and the manufacturing company. Read reviews and see if the monitor or any of its supporting applications have had any known security vulnerabilities.
- Always use a strong password and frequently change it. This one’s a pretty obvious security precaution but it’s easily overlooked. Choose a password that’s difficult to guess, such as a combination of letters, numbers and characters. Don’t choose something that might be easy to guess, such as the default camera name or a repetitive string of numbers.
- Make sure you only give the password to people you trust.
- Don’t use the same password for other accounts. If you have the same passwords, if one device is hacked, the others could be compromised.
- Remember to update your software. It’s much easier for hackers to access your devices if you haven’t updated your software. So, make sure you always remember to install those security patches. Register your product and applications so the manufacturer will notify you when they release any new updates.
- Turn your baby monitor off when you’re not using it. Leaving your devices on makes them much more vulnerable to hacking.
So, are WiFi Baby Monitors Actually Worth it?
Baby monitors are extremely handy for parents, especially if you’re a newbie. But how are WiFi baby monitors different from the usual audio or video ones and are they actually worth it?
While audio monitors are obviously useful, it’s even better if you could hear your baby crying and also be able to see what’s wrong. Video monitors allow you to see your baby so you can check whether they’re sleeping, crying, acting restless and more. They effectively help you become a more omnipresent parent.
A WiFi baby monitor takes it one step further by allowing you to keep an eye on your little one from your smartphone. Many of these monitors even have built-in mics which allow you to talk back to your children.
Which WiFi Baby Monitors are Best to Use?
- Records in excellent quality. Night vision is as crisp as daytime and you can zoom in on the footage on your phone and the quality isn’t compromised.
- Ability to invite other people to view the camera feed (great for keeping family members in the loop or if one of the parents is away).
- Maintains connection even when the internet’s down.
- Provides plenty of helpful sleep data if you sign up to the Insights subscription service, such as how long your baby took to fall asleep, how long they slept and how many times someone visited their crib.
- Signing up to the Insights subscription costs money.
- You can’t talk back to your baby.
- There are no lullabies.
- Sharp 1080p image.
- Sensors provide instant motion and sound detection alerts.
- Nightlight feature comes with different colours so you can adjust both the colour and brightness.
- Plays lullabies or songs stored in their cloud.
- Two-way audio.
- Triggered recording.
- Environmental sensors allow you to monitor the room temperature, humidity and air quality.
- Supports If This Then That (IFTTT) applications so you can connect it to your other smart home devices.
- Designed with kids in mind - comes with a cute rubber character outfit so your camera can look like a bunny, kitten or puppy.
- Can’t play music from your own library.
- You only get seven days of free cloud storage for your videos and snapshots.
- Lacks pan and tilt features so it can be difficult to record the entire room or get a wide shot.
- Crisp 1080p video recording.
- Motion and sound alerts. Also allows for triggered recording, based on motion and sound sensors.
- Two-way audio.
- Plays lullabies and songs from your own playlists, which is great if you want to get your baby to start liking the same music as you.
- Pans and tilts - you can do this on your smartphone via the app. Handy if you want to look around the room.
- Monitors the room temperature, humidity and air quality.
- Free cloud storage for your video footage and photos.
- No web access. You can’t monitor your baby via a PC or laptop.
Enhance Your WiFi Baby Monitors with Better Broadband and a Smart Home Setup
WiFi baby monitors require an internet connection: the name says it all. So, it’s important that you have a connection you can rely on. If you have patchy, unreliable broadband, you’ll struggle to receive real-time updates on your baby. Fast, reliable broadband, on the other hand, allows you to have a constant stream of video footage, with no buffering or connection failures, so you’ll never miss a thing.
A smart home system will also help you get the most out of your baby monitors. A voice enabled digital assistant like Amazon’s Alexa can act as the central hub for all of your gadgets, tying them together.
For example, you could just ask Alexa to play a lullaby for your baby to help them sleep rather than fiddle with the app on your phone. Or, you might see that it’s a little too cold in your baby’s room so you could ask Alexa to turn the temperature up - via your smart thermostat.
These aren’t the only cool things Alexa can do. The possibilities are endless when it comes to smart homes. Download our guide to Amazon’s Alexa and learn the 101 things she can do below.