Big Mother

Definition of Big Mother

Big Mother is a term used to describe technology or systems that intensely monitor and manage people’s lives, similar to the concept of Big Brother in George Orwell’s novel “1984.” However, Big Mother focuses more on the protective, nurturing, and controlling aspects of surveillance, often in the context of parenting and caregiving. It can also refer to overbearing and intrusive technologies that aim to assist or guide, but ultimately limit personal freedom and autonomy.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Big Mother” is:/bɪɡ ˈmʌðər/

Key Takeaways

  1. Big Mother represents a form of invasive surveillance that monitors and controls individuals’ lives, potentially violating privacy rights and limiting personal freedom.
  2. Big Mother can be seen in various aspects of society, such as parental control in families, governmental regulation, and social media monitoring, aiming to maintain security and protection.
  3. While Big Mother can provide safety and order, it is crucial to maintain a balance between protection and preserving individual rights to prevent turning into an oppressive regime.

Importance of Big Mother

The technology term “Big Mother” is important because it represents a significant shift in the way technology is being used to monitor and guide people’s lives.

Drawing a parallel to the concept of “Big Brother” introduced in George Orwell’s novel, 1984, “Big Mother” refers to the growing network of technologies and devices that focus on protecting, nurturing, and even nudging people toward making “better” choices.

Unlike the more ominous and invasive nature of “Big Brother,” “Big Mother” technologies, such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, and self-improvement apps, aim to promote well-being and personal growth.

While the intentions of “Big Mother” are generally benevolent, the term also raises concerns about personal privacy, surveillance, and the dependency on technology for managing life decisions.


Big Mother refers to the use of technology and monitoring systems implemented with the noble intent of ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals, typically within the realm of family, healthcare, or childcare settings. The term “Big Mother” is often used in a more affectionate sense as it is derived from the concept of a caring, nurturing, and protective maternal figure.

Digital tools such as GPS trackers for children, baby monitors with video capabilities, and health-monitoring wearables are prime examples of Big Mother technology. With the rapid advancement of technology, these systems aim to provide a sense of security and reassurance to concerned parents or caregivers, enabling them to keep tabs on their loved ones constantly.

While Big Mother technology can be viewed as an effective measure to aid in the well-being of its users, it is essential to acknowledge the potential drawbacks and ethical concerns associated with continuous monitoring. Critics argue that excessive surveillance can not only lead to invasion of privacy, but also hinder the development of a child’s autonomy, trust between parent and child, and may inadvertently contribute to creating a culture of paranoia and over-dependence among users.

It is therefore important for individuals utilizing Big Mother technology to strike a balance between ensuring safety and preserving the right to privacy and personal freedom, thus avoiding the pitfalls of excessive surveillance.

Examples of Big Mother

“Big Mother” typically refers to the idea that technology is being used to excessively monitor, control, or surveil people’s lives (similar to “Big Brother” from George Orwell’s novel 1984). It generally does not refer to a specific technology itself, but rather to the implementation and impact of various technologies on privacy and personal freedom. Here are three real-world examples of technologies with “Big Mother”-like implications:

Social Credit System in China: The People’s Republic of China has implemented a social credit system that collects data from various sources to assign a reputation score to citizens based on their behavior. This system uses surveillance cameras with facial recognition, online data, and financial records to monitor and analyze the activities of individuals. The score can influence a citizen’s access to services, opportunities, and even mobility within and outside the country.

Pervasive Surveillance Cameras: In numerous cities around the world, including London and New York, the use of surveillance cameras has become widespread. These cameras monitor public spaces and are intended to help law enforcement and security personnel maintain order and prevent crime. However, concerns have been raised about their potential invasion of privacy and their use to track people without their consent or knowledge.

Mobile Spyware & Parental Tracking Apps: Several mobile applications are available on the market, which allow people (typically parents or significant others) to monitor and track the activities of others (usually their children or partners). These apps can record and remotely access text messages, call logs, social media activities, and even GPS locations. Although some argue their use can ensure safety and responsibility, others claim they infringe on personal privacy and boundaries. These examples represent the potential for technology to be used as a “Big Mother,” in which people’s actions and choices are continually surveilled, controlled, or even punished. It raises ethical questions about how far technology should be incorporated into our lives for the sake of safety and accountability, versus the importance of protecting personal privacy and autonomy.

Big Mother FAQ

What is Big Mother?

Big Mother is a term often used to describe a situation where an organization, such as a government or corporation, exerts extensive control and surveillance over its citizens or employees, similar to the “Big Brother” concept from George Orwell’s novel 1984. Unlike Big Brother, which is more focused on government surveillance, Big Mother represents a more caring and nurturing aspect, providing assistance and support while monitoring individuals.

How does Big Mother affect individuals?

While Big Mother aims to provide assistance and support, it may also lead to concerns about privacy and personal autonomy. The constant surveillance and control by an organization can have both positive and negative effects on individuals, including increased safety and security measures but also feelings of intrusiveness and lack of privacy.

What are the advantages of Big Mother?

Some advantages of Big Mother include increased safety and security, better access to resources and support, and the creation of a more organized and efficient environment. These aspects can lead to improved well-being and quality of life for individuals under the care of a Big Mother organization.

What are the disadvantages of Big Mother?

Disadvantages of Big Mother include potential privacy and autonomy concerns, the risk of misuse of collected data, and the stifling of individual creativity and freedom due to constant surveillance. These issues may lead to feelings of discomfort, stress, and discontent for those under the watchful eye of a Big Mother organization.

How can individuals protect themselves from Big Mother?

To protect oneself from Big Mother, it is crucial to be aware of one’s rights and the privacy policies of various organizations. Individuals can use encryption and privacy tools to safeguard their personal data online, limit information shared on social media, and support legislation that protects privacy and limits unchecked surveillance.

Related Technology Terms

  • Data Privacy
  • Surveillance Technology
  • Monitoring Devices
  • Smart Home Automation
  • Internet of Things (IoT)

Sources for More Information

  • Wired –
  • Techopedia –
  • Psychology Today –
  • Forbes –

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