Newsweek is running a story about a new kind of nursing home in China for empty nesters whose grown kids live in different parts of the world. The facility has web cams in various locations so the residents' families can see them living their daily lives via computer.
My friend has a greyhound who stays at home--mostly on the couch--while she is at work. She installed a doggie cam when he started chewing on the couch and dragging cushions out into the garden. She keeps an image window open at the bottom of her computer screen to keep an eye on him. Her co-workers love it, though greyhounds really are couch potatoes (who knew?) and he doesn't do much in the way of entertainment for his unseen audience. When he starts to chew or drag, my friend calls the home phone and commands him, on the answering machine, to stop. She can see his head whip up, and he stops (well, usually.)
When it's time for me to go to the group retirement home, I'm not sure I want web cams giving away my secrets ("Oh, look--she's stealing chocolate from the kitchen again!") The only thing that would be worse is having someone holler at me on a speaker. It works great for Greyhounds, but Hell, what's the use of getting old and cantankerous if you can't do whatever you want? I hope this Chinese thing doesn't catch on and turn into Remote Granny Control over here!