Such is the state of technology that it’s now possible to monitor your home from your smartphone. Sandie Kaplanis bought some of these high-tech cameras for her house, to keep an eye on her elderly dog. However, when she checked the cameras, she was perturbed to see a mysterious girl instead.
Kaplanis had been concerned about her 14-year-old labrador Amber. As well as being old, Amber was suffering from kidney failure. In light of the dog’s condition, Kaplanis wanted some way to keep an eye on her pet while she was at away from home.
Subsequently, Kaplanis’ son bought her a Vivitar Smart Camera as a Christmas present. Using this camera, Kaplanis would be able to check on Amber and make sure she was still breathing okay. And after the initial setup, everything appeared to be working as it should.
The system Kaplanis used was essentially a camera, pointed at Amber. Kaplanis could check it using her smartphone or a computer, and rest easy knowing Amber was okay. In fact, Vivitar also offers systems with motion sensors and carbon dioxide detectors too.
Kaplanis was able to successfully use her Vivitar system for several weeks without problems. However, one day something entirely bizarre happened while she was using her phone to check on the dog. In essence, she saw something she definitely wasn’t expecting to see.
Instead of an aged labrador with a gray muzzle, Kaplanis was looking at a mysterious girl, asleep. Obviously, she was very surprised to see a girl, especially one that she did not recognize. Confused about the situation, Kaplanis tried to correct things.
“I see this little girl and I say, ‘What is this?’” Kaplanis explained to WJLA News. “So I log out and I log back in and I see my dog, and I log back in and I see this little girl. And this happened for a period of over 24 hours.”
Logging in and out again didn’t change the situation. Despite it being a video feed, the picture of the girl appeared to be a still image, not an active recording. Kaplanis is still none the wiser about where the image came from or who the little girl is.
As a result of this bizarre situation, Kaplanis decided to call the camera company, Vivitar, for an answer. Unfortunately, the company was unable to offer a satisfying response. It had no idea who the girl was either, nor why she should have appeared on Kaplanis’ video feed.
Despite its continuing ignorance, Vivitar was quick to offer Kaplanis some restitution. For one thing, it delivered some new cameras to replace the old ones. Although it was a nice gesture, it didn’t explain how the situation arose, nor why the cameras themselves were at fault.
In the event, Vivitar also apologized for the incident and promised to investigate the matter thoroughly. Kaplanis was unconvinced. It turns out that she wasn’t frightened or creeped out by the sight of the girl but worried that other less friendly characters might be able to spy on her – and other children.
Kaplanis said, “I want people to know if you buy this and set it up for your little baby, somebody else could be watching.” And it may be that it was not as much of a shock to Vivitar as to Kaplanis that she was able to tune into someone else’s child.
The issue at hand may have been related to the frequencies that the cameras communicate on. Liquid Video Technologies’ Vice President Deveren Werne spoke to Fox News, explaining that there might be interference in some cases. This might have been why Kaplanis could see the girl.
“I can have a nanny cam, and you can have a nanny cam, and if we’re close to each other, I can see your cameras and you can see mine,” Werne said. “It’s not advisable to have wireless cameras from Best Buy or from HH Greg or any of those places because they’re all wide open… there’s no security whatsoever.”
Werne insisted that cheaper, self-installed packages simply didn’t have the security to prevent the sort of interference experienced by Kaplanis. Furthermore, he added that a professionally installed system would protect against tampering. He suggested using a company such as his own.
Kaplanis’ story may be an odd one, but it isn’t the first time that people have used nanny cam technology and seen something surprising. With this in mind, HuffPost published an article on people’s experiences. They ranged from the amusing to the disturbing.
One nanny cam user had an issue with a time lag or delay. As a result, they saw a figure pick up their baby on the camera and walk out of the room holding them. Panicking, it took a while for the person to realize that the picture was simply delayed and that they were watching themselves.
One evening, another user had a deeply disturbing experience with a nanny cam. “Had it on one night and heard someone talking,” the user described. “It was some older lady talking about what it was like growing up in Africa. Weird as s**t.”
More than one person complained about babysitters, whose actions were occasionally captured on camera. For example, a parent discovered that their babysitter was behaving in a disgusting way. It turned out they would smell the child’s underwear once their clothes had been changed.
The truth is that it can be a little overbearing to have a nanny cam. Although Kaplanis watching her dog may seem no big deal, some children might find the idea of being watched a little cloying. And once they figure out that there’s a camera in the teddy bear, they might be less likely to play with it.