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Video streaming lets parents attend kids’ events virtually

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SALT LAKE CITY — For parents with children who are involved in many different activities, attending every sports game, piano recital or school play is at times impossible because of busy schedules.

However, new technology allows parents to watch their kids' events through live video streaming, reports Sue Shellenbarger for The Wall Street Journal.

"As streaming video becomes more widespread, more parents are using the technology to 'attend' their kids' events and games when they can't actually be present physically," she wrote.

Technology like Youth Sports Live, which partners with softball and baseball leagues installs webcams on the playing fields, allowing parents to watch their children's games online for $15 a month. The team signs up with Youth Sports Live for free.

There are also applications for the iPhone:

-GameChanger is free and parents can follow games with play-by-play updates that a parent, coach or someone at the game enters into the application with a tap or drag on the screen;

-Knocking Live Video is also free for iPhones and Android smartphones. When a contact at the game who also has this application installed connects with whoever can't be there, the phone becomes a camera, providing live video and audio of the event;

-The Qik application is not free, but is $3 for the iPhone, Android, Nokia and BlackBerry and allows users to share live video on Qik's website and prerecorded video on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.

Advice from Parenting Weekly counsels parents to take time to bond with their children by giving them their undivided attention when home, playing games, having meaningful conversations and eating dinner together as a family.

Another important way to bond with children is to get involved in their lives.

"Volunteer with the PTA, help coach your daughter's soccer team, and attend as many plays, concerts, or games your child is in," Parenting Weekly said on its website. "Show them they are a priority in your life."

Video streaming provides a way for that even when parents are traveling or when they can't get away from the office in time.

A California woman told The Wall Street Journal that she brings her laptop to her kids' school events and uses Skype to call her husband in his San Francisco office.

Once she points the camera toward the stage, "not only can he see them, but they can see his face," she said. "It's about as close as he can possibly get to being there."

EMAIL: rcampbell@desnews.com