Part 5: Web Cameras
What Are Webcams?
Webcam's are basically cameras that attach to your computer. However, instead of normal digital cameras, these only work when attached to your computer. Plus, you can do video conferencing with them. Many computers today come with webcams already attached to them. Laptops are the most common culprit; many new ones have a webcam integrated on top of the screen. This worries parents, as they might not want their child to be having webcam conversations with persons' unknown.
What Should You Do About Webcams?
Webcams are generally meant for fun when a child has one. Having a video conversation with family across the country or beyond is always enjoyable, or just chatting it up with a friend with video. For adults they can be used for long distance conferencing. However, webcams also pose a potential danger if your child ends up using it with an unknown person. The easiest way to limit this is to disable the webcam yourself. Then, if an occasion warrants, you can enable it if they wish to speak with their friend or family.
How To Disable Webams
Firstly, you need to make sure the webcam is attached to the computer. If it's integrated into the computer you don't need to worry about it. Then, right click on the "My Computer" button and click Manage. A screen like Picture 1 should appear.
Then click on Device Manager. A long list of items should appear on the right. Look through the list (clicking the "+" marks when needed to expand) until you find your Webcam. Generally it will be pretty obviously named, either by the manufacturer (Logitech is a popular one) or just with the phrase Web Camera.
Once you've found it, right click it and click Properties as shown in Picture 2. A new window should appear. On the top there is a tab for "drivers". Click on that. Now, there are many tabs to select.
The two tabs we want to focus on are shown in Picture 3. The first is Disable. This is a more temporary measure. You can go back to this menu at any time and click Enable to bring the camera back. The second is Uninstall. This is a more permanent measure. It will uninstall all software involved with the camera. While it is possible to reinstall later, this is a more complex process. Basically, do whichever you feel is necessary.
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