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Virtual babysitting services see surge in business

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With safe social distancing in place for at least the foreseeable future, a new trend is growing in the world of babysitting.  Parents are using popular video conferencing services such as Zoom or FaceTime in place of taking their kids to the babysitters, to daycare or on playdates.  Some virtual sitters do puppet shows, make crafts or even teach lessons, sometimes just some chat will do the trick, in place of physical interaction.  Demand for virtual babysitting services, according to the Deseret News, is up 700 %, with such sitting services as Care and Sitter Stream cashing in on the trend.

Sitter screen time is not for all children, some are too young or rambunctious, but for other kids, it’s been a blessing for busy parents like New Jersey mom Erin Butler.  She says her son was so excited about his hourlong virtual babysitting session that it turned into a 90-minute session, allowing Erin to concentrate on a conference call for work.

“There’s not a lot we can do these days — no playdates, no parks and it’s still cold out in the northeast — so it was nice to see him interacting with someone,” Butler told Today. “He’s already drawn a picture to show Sarah on their next session.”

Many parents aren’t just using virtual babysitters so they can get more work done. The Washington Post reports that some are using the extra time to help other kids with homeschooling, catch up on home tasks or even do some necessary self-care.