Can Zoom Babysit Your Children?

Gone are the days of pawning your kid off on a babysitter. Or are they?

zoom babysitting
A computer babysitting a child
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Back in the olden days, a babysitter was a person who came to your home to watch your children while you left the home. Now neither of those things can really happen, but parents are still desperate to escape their children even when they are physically trapped inside with them. Parents in the time of coronavirus can’t run from their children, but they can hide, and while they’re holed up in whatever room, closet or corner provides the most convincing illusion of freedom and privacy, a remote babysitter will watch their children over Zoom.

Over the past few weeks, months, or however long it’s been — it doesn’t really matter anymore, does it? — we’ve handed most aspects of our lives over to Zoom in attempt to create sad, typically watered down and largely ineffective virtual versions of things we once enjoyed and/or depended on. Meetings, dates, happy hours and sex parties all take place on Zoom now, and according to the Washington Post, babysitting is the latest facet of pre-COVID life to get a Zoom makeover. Popular childcare directories like have reported an uptick in providers offering virtual services, and virtual-only providers like SitterStream have launched in recent weeks as the demand for remote sitters has increased.

While a remote babysitter may seem relatively useless in most scenarios in which a babysitter is actually needed — like, say, life-threatening ones — virtual sitters aren’t really meant to replace adult supervision. According to the Post, most virtual babysitting gigs only last for a short period of time, and parents are usually still nearby (because where else would they go?!) Typically, the idea is just for the virtual sitter to keep a child engaged long enough for the parents to complete some household tasks, get some work done or have a brief nervous breakdown. So while parents may not be able to escape their children physically, they can at least pawn them off on someone else mentally for a few precious moments.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.