Spy Cams at Cornell

So at some schools, they’ve installed webcams that you at the computer can control. And over-protective parents are all over that.

Web cams have been a fixture on college campuses for close to a decade, beaming views of iconic quads and clock towers to would-be students and nostalgic alumni. But this year, Cornell joined a small number of campuses also deploying the cameras in a new way: as a digital tether to parents eager for live glimpses of children on their own for the first time.

For them, the “Hi, Mom!” cams offer a few seconds of reassurance that children are still brushing their hair, eating square meals, and wearing the Uggs that cost more than their parents once paid for tuition. When Dan Hutchison, 18, a chemistry major and rower, stepped under the lens for the first time, his mother beamed. “I told him, ‘You finally got your hair cut,’ ” says Janet. “It was past time.”