As I write this, I can see my baby next to my computer screen. He is asleep at the other end of the house but a camera and microphone connected to our Wi-Fi network is broadcasting a live stream to my office.
A movement sensor attached to his nappy will beep if he stops breathing. An app on my phone will give me a daily notification of the milestones he should have reached, and some suggested activities to make sure he does.
It might sound like a case of new-parent paranoia but we are using just a fraction of the technology available and, compared to some, we're luddites. The arsenal of technology available to parents is increasing daily and covers everything from bowel movement trackers to devices that report back on the whereabouts of your teenagers.
But is it really helping parents, or just creating an extra set of worries and a generation of stifled children? Was life easier when it was a little less high-tech? And, as some contend, have we become spies on our own children, monitoring them from birth to adulthood?
It is not that long ago that baby monitors were uncommon. Now, they come fitted with movement sensors and video screens. And the monitoring doesn't stop when children are out of nappies. There are devices for backpacks to ensure the littlies make it to school on time and apps that can track teenagers' whereabouts, driving ability and internet use.
A US woman made headlines last month with her app that would lock her children's mobile phones until they returned her calls or texts.
Susan Edmunds with her son Liam.
But experts say if the gadgetry isn't carefully incorporated into a family's life, parents risk stressing themselves out unnecessarily, jeopardising relationships with their children and producing a generation that sees danger at every turn.
Psychologist David Stebbing says it is surprising how quickly things become the norm. "I hear often that if children don't have access to their mobiles, their parents think the child is unsafe. That seems strange because 15 years ago, no kids had mobiles."
Apps such as Find My Friends, or Life 360, which gives the location of a person's phone, allow 24/7 monitoring. But it's not an easy fit for all.
One father wrote on a parenting forum: "We're about to give our daughter my old iPhone. I now realise I have the ability to track my daughter wherever she is but I'm not sure how I feel about this power. She's a good kid and as yet has not done anything to cause us concern over what she might be up to, but being able to know where she is actually gives me a feeling of comfort, but at the same time I feel a little dirty."
Auckland mum Kiri Last can understand the motivation. Her four children, aged 3 to 13, use a Google calendar to co-ordinate their activities from their iPads and log in to see what each other is doing.
The apps she uses most are for things like keeping track of pocket money. But she can see the potential for more once Zak, 13, starts driving.
Parents of young drivers can see their speed, braking and mileage, with the Trip Angel app, for example.
"For teenagers, it's not a silly idea, Last says. "Parents have so little control. When he starts driving, we could activate the GPS on his iPhone to see where he is. But I don't think it should replace everyday conversations and communication. You need to use it as a helping hand."
Psychologist Jackie Riach, of Auckland's Triple P Centre, says if parents are going to try a tracking app or an internet monitoring system, they should talk to their children about it, so it can be negotiated and agreed.
Some parents intrude on their kids. "It's not wrong to want to know where your kids are, what they're doing and who they're with. But it used to be if you read your kid's diary, you had to be careful about the reaction you got. Now it's Facebook ... They have to be clear what they're going to do with that information because the minute you say, 'I know who you're going out with', the child won't put stuff on Facebook any more and the trust relationship is challenged."
Rochelle Gribble, editor of parenting website Kiwi Families, says parents need to let their children learn to take risks as a crucial part of their development.
"We all want to keep our precious babies safe but I feel strongly as a parent that kids need to take and manage risks. If children aren't learning to take risks, that can lead to them not understanding the consequences of risk when they're older."
Parents should think carefully about whether the risks they're trying to mitigate are real, she says.
"I'd rather my child was brave and adventurous than always fearful. I'm not saying they have no value, but parents want to think carefully about each thing they use, whether it's helping to manage a real risk or just helping make themselves feel better."
The most common form of monitoring is of young people's use of the internet. Photo / Thinkstock
What most worries some parents is the web. The most common form of monitoring is of young people's use of the internet. Netsafe director Martin Cocker estimates about a quarter of parents use some sort of software to filter their children's internet use. "Monitoring software on kids isn't going to make them significantly safer or parenting significantly easier. It's most effective to use the information you glean to have a conversation with children."
Applications like SafetyWeb monitor children's internet use and send alerts to parents if they detect anything explicit or signs of cyber-bullying. McGruff Safeguard lets parents remotely monitor their kid's online conversations, what they've been Googling and sites they've visited. It even translates acronyms.
Parents can take it to extremes. One US college student won a protective order against her parents in 2012. Aubrey Ireland, 21, told a judge her parents often drove 600 miles from their Kansas home to her university, unannounced, to meet officials and falsely accused her of promiscuity, drug use, and mental problems.
Her parents, Julie and David Ireland, admitted installing monitoring software on her laptop and cellphone. But they said they had her best interests at heart.
Whangarei mum-of-five Rachel Beckham uses K9 Parental Filter to monitor her kids' internet use.
"You can choose the level of filtering, enforce a password and check the sites they try to get to when they get blocked. You can also allow them access for a certain time to a site that is blocked, like Facebook."
She makes filtering decisions on a case-by-case basis. "I trust my girl, who's 13, more than the boys, who are 15." She started monitoring as another way to keep an eye on them but has not talked to them about it. "I'm aware of bullying and just teenagers making dumb decisions."
It's clear technology in parenting is increasing. Photo / Thinkstock
But how well does monitoring work? Stebbing says: "Some teenagers would be diligent about making sure they were able to be monitored but they're typically not the ones who get into much strife anyway. Those who are higher risk are more likely to disable the monitoring or take their phone and leave it somewhere."
Sarah Taylor, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland, says research hasn't proved the benefits of monitoring kids. "GPS-type systems do not inform parents of the exact activity of the child.
"Nor do they promote disclosure from the child, meaning they will not lead to better relationships between parent and child. Parents must still develop a relationship open to successful communication."
Japanese studies looked at the use of GPS and radio frequency child monitoring systems - popular in that country's primary schools. A school bag tag relays the time of a child's arrival and departure from school to a parent's mobile phone.
The children who were more likely to use the system properly were those who thought their parents related well to them and enjoyed spending time with them, not those who felt their parents were controlling.
Taylor says international research into parents who keep in touch with their kids via cellphone had shown it was associated with less risk of cigarette and substance use, lower rates of problem behaviour and decreased early sexual behaviour. It had also been shown to curb lying, skipping school and involvement in criminal activity.
But it depended on the young person's attitudes - those with better relationships dealt with monitoring better. Those who used cellphones to initiate contact with their parents were more truthful. Parents who peppered their children with texts and calls reported greater disharmony.
The research suggested parents might do best if they encourage their kids to talk about daily activities when very young. "As these children grow older, this disclosure may therefore become a habit independent of the parent needing to ask."
Kids nowadays are increasingly wired. Photo / Thinkstock
It's clear technology in parenting is increasing. Rebecca Stewart, sales and marketing director of North Port Events, which puts on the Baby Show that ran over three days in Auckland last month, has noticed a change in what is marketed.
"It used to be all books and puzzles but even Buzzy Bee now has an app."
Safety products have been taken to a new level, she says. Parents use security cameras to check up on the nanny or keep an eye on their children, and attach them to their mobile phone or tablet.
"You didn't see that in the show five or 10 years ago. "
A video of a stroller at the show that packs itself up with a push of a button, went viral with 10,000 views in a couple of days, Stewart said.
"It's a definite trend. It used to be core products like nappies, wipes, cots. Now they're adding technology to those products."
Not only are there apps to help women through a pregnancy, and to time contractions, other programs can turn your smartphone into a one-stop baby information centre. Burnham mum Melanie Bromwich gave birth to her first child, Patrick, in May, and has been tracking his movements in her app Baby Connect since.
"It has a timer for sleeping and you can enter nappy changes, what's in the nappy, whether it's wet, dirty and the consistency and colour.
"It also lets you record which breast you fed on last and provides graphs so you can see how much he's slept in a day and how many times he's fed. Every time I do something, it goes into the app."
It has helped her through the first few months of motherhood. "Especially with sleep. It has helped to see that things have got better and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
"The first couple of weeks I was going insane but I can see he's slowly sleeping longer and it is getting better. It also helps with 'baby brain', I can easily tell which side I've fed on."
At this year's Baby Show, parents could trial a Buddy Tag - a device that uses Bluetooth to connect a parent's phone to a wristband worn by their child, and warns them if he or she gets too far away from them.
Research suggests teenagers who use cellphones to initiate contact with their parents are more truthful. Photo / Thinkstock
Oratia mother-of-two Tracy Morgan runs Squoodles, which sells the Buddy Tag in New Zealand. She says demand is growing.
One pregnant woman who bought a Buddy Tag at the Baby Show planned to attach the device to her baby as soon as it was born, to keep track of the child in the maternity ward if she had to leave the room.
Morgan lives in a semi-rural area and uses the Buddy Tag on her 2-year-old. "If he's outside playing and I'm inside, I can set the range to the start of my driveway so he can't go up the driveway without me knowing."
The device has a maximum range of 50m. Morgan says it's not designed to take over from parents, but offers a bit of reassurance. "If you're out with friends and sitting talking, then look up and can't find them, your stomach just drops. It won't stop them running away but it helps find them when they do."
She also says it suits parents who want to keep an eye on the nanny. The Buddy Tag can be set up to email a parent at work if it goes off during the day. "You can then ring and ask what's going on, or you could question them later - how was the day? If they say, 'perfectly fine', you can say, 'didn't you actually lose them'?"
Back in my office, I can see my boy start to stir. I'll go to his room and scoop him up before he gets upset.
I think he and I would agree our monitors and devices are making life easier. He doesn't have to shout to be heard when he wakes and I don't have to worry he's got stuck in the side of the cot or pulled the blankets over his face.
But as he gets older, I'll have to make an effort to cut this technological cord. A camera in his bedroom at 14 weeks is acceptable. But if I'm still watching his every move at 14 years, we'll both suffer.