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E-commerce is still in the development stage requiring additional ideas for enhancements and investments to put them into life. When it comes to product manufacturing and selling, e-commerce is represented with business-to-customer websites that have product catalogues with product description, reviews, comments, terms and conditions, search toolbar and shopping cart checkout.
As for online services, they are usually offered by freelancers and online companies uniting and coordinating them. Such services hire people who have instant Internet access and the ability to work at home with flexible schedule. The related amount of Google searches for “Internet Home Business” offers about 300,000 results and the number is constantly growing meaning that this is demanded by the freelancers. As for potential customers, many of them just start getting used to the new services provided online. Busy clients who evaluate their time, efforts and transportation costs may want to enjoy some of the benefits and merits offered by e-commerce. As for the e-business that is not yet existing, online babysitting for middle school students seems to be one of the possible innovations in e-commerce (Agarwal, 2009).
This service is intended to keep an eye on the middle-school kids using the webcam in order to make sure they are doing their homework, housework or any other tasks defined and assigned by their parents. The majority of children who go to middle school are not diligent enough yet. Their parents tend to leave them home alone, and it may result in different temptations and behavior issues for the children who just stepped into their teenage period. Such kids may misbehave if their parents never know about these pranks. Children tend to invite their friends to come over instead of studying and completing their homework assignments. Besides, many kids feel stuck at a certain task and do not want to finish it without parental assistance.
The webcams used for babysitting should embrace the entire room where the kid stays. The online nanny should be able to talk to the kid from time to time or to help him or her whenever she is asked. Additional services may include homework assistance and other support activities that can be provided online. The babysitters may be required to have special education and know how to deal with students of this age (Lewis, 2010).
This service is children-oriented and does not mean that the kid will be controlled 24 hours and 7 days a week. Instead, the child’s parents will determine the hours of homeworking (for example, 3.00 PM – 5.00 PM) to ensure that everything is completed; the kid is assisted by an adult who can provide support and help while the homework assignment is being done. This is a way to both ensure children’s security and check their activities. If the child gets disobedient and not ready to cooperate with the online assistant, the babysitter calls his or her parents to inform about the issue, and afterwards, it is parent’s responsibility to check on their child whether via cell or land phone.
In order to make the parents sure about the service reliability, all assistance may be recorded with special devices mounted along with the webcams, so the parents may see what their kid was doing today, how he or she behaved and how the babysitter helped the young student out with the homework assignments.
Children who attend middle school do not need as much teaching and educational measures on the behalf of babysitters as smaller children do. However, parents who are busy working often leave them home alone for several hours having no idea about what the child is doing and how it may affect the progress report. That is why online babysitting and assistance may be the perfect service solution to guarantee that the kid turns the assignments in on time and behaves well; moreover, if the child gets capricious and naughty or misbehaves, the parents have a chance to learn about it immediately.
This is also important for children as they may feel lonesome and bored without talking to other people or their own way – the babysitting assistant may serve as a great company or entertain the child after all homework is done. Sometimes, the feeling of loneliness and boredom may lead to low self-esteem, a sense of needlessness, estrangement and even suicidal thoughts. These issues cannot be resolved entirely as they are typical for all teenage children; though, online babysitting is able to partially eliminate the consequences of these processes.
E-business such as online babysitting has some competitive advantages. The babysitter does not have to come along and provide personal interference, so the traveling and accommodation costs on the behalf of the parents are reduced. Moreover, the parents may not worry about thefts, vandalism and other issues that may take place when it comes to non-virtual babysitting (Lewis, 2010). That is the reason why online babysitting is more efficient than real-life babysitting. Besides, middle-school students may take non-virtual assistance as insulting, while online option makes it somewhat compromise.
The babysitter also benefits as he or she can easily combine several activities at the same time; this is especially good for freelancers who work at home using a computer and still have to look at the screen (Practical Ecommerce, 2007). Online babysitting is beneficial for the kids who are controlled, checked, assisted and supported while their parents have the opportunity to receive information about their children’s activities and guarantee homework completion.
Online babysitting implies lower fees for the babysitter due to lower efforts and less personal interference, and therefore, lower costs for the parents to bear. Real-life babysitting services remain the most significant competitors for online babysitting as many parents may consider personal interference more reliable and useful for the child, while others may not want to record the activities of the child because of security concerns. Other parents may not want to deal with the consequences of children’s misbehavior and may not be able to react as fast as the situation requires when the kids misbehave or put themselves under risks.
The potential target market for online babysitting is the market of services. The potential target audiences in the market are parents, single parents and other individuals who need to provide additional assistance and control the behavior of their children. Supposedly, those parents who work long hours and whose children have unsatisfactory academic progress and bad demeanor are more likely to represent the demand for the service.
The potential problems related to online babysitting for middle-school students are caused by the subjectivity of this service. Just as in regular non-virtual babysitting, for some reason, clients may not be satisfied with the level of service provided.
If the customer has a traditional mindset and does not consider the merits of online babysitting such as lower travel expenses and other costs, such parent won’t be eager to try out this electronic service. A great part of parents don’t imagine assisting and controlling the kid with the help of the Internet, so it might be challenging enough to persuade them that this kind of service is more efficient than the competitor’s proposals.
Using online babysitting might require the client to purchase webcams and recording equipment which may not be reasonable for some families. Besides, instant Internet connection on both sides is required – the service cannot be used in case electricity sources break down. If the child gets disobedient, leaves the house or just refuses to listen to the babysitter, there is practically nothing that can be done by a parent who is busy at work. Parents can merely receive the information and try to contact their kid persuading him or her to follow the instructions, but that might not work as well.
If the child has had serious behavioral issues with real-life babysitters, it might be impossible for a virtual assistant to control the activities of such a young and unpredictable individual. At least, parents will be informed about the issues and try to use educational measures to their disobedient children.
In conclusion, online babysitting service offers the following benefits and competitive advantages to prospective clients:
- The opportunities to control the homework assignment completion of those children who are home alone while their parents are at work. This is especially beneficial for those kids who have academic issues and need to get better doing their studies.
- A flexible instrument with dynamic schedules when the babysitter may assist the child for a couple of hours before the parents come back from work.
- Babysitters who have high qualification and corresponding educational level may help the kids do their homework in case it is required.
- The expenses, and consequently, the costs of hiring online babysitter will be lower than real-life babysitting as they don’t include travel and accommodation expenses.
- Children who suffer loneliness and boredom can be as well entertained by the company of a friendly babysitter who can provide more psychological comfort and support preventing negative consequences of the parents’ absence.
- Parents receive information about misbehavior as soon as possible.
However, there are certain risks that are involved in this kind of e-business:
- It is challenging enough to put the line between the responsibility of the babysitter and the busy parent at work in case something bad happens.
- It is impossible to apply this online service without installing special equipment and webcams.
- The service depends on electricity supplies a lot, unlike real-life babysitting, so it is completely useless if electricity breaks down.
- Some parents might find it risky to let the babysitting company record their kid’s activities. The child has to be in the reach of webcam view, so there should either be a lot of cameras all over the place or the child has to spend the majority of his or her time at one spot. The latter option will be uncomfortable for the kid who is eager to move around at home after sitting at the school desk for many hours.