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5 Reasons Not to Nanny Cam

June 3, 2012

Every parent wants to know that when they leave their child with their nanny, their child will receive quality, loving care. Unfortunately when the quality of child care comes into question, the first response many parents have is to install a nanny cam.

While there are many reasons, such as having peace of mind, that parents opt to install a nanny cam, there are five reasons why installing one may not be the right thing to do that are worth considering.

1. If you feel like you need proof that something isn’t right. The purpose of a nanny cam is to deter abuse, not to capture it. If you suspect that your nanny is abusing or neglecting your child, take action and let your nanny go immediately. Don’t ignore your gut.

2. Nanny cams don’t always portray reality. Inexpensive nanny cams often don’t show high quality footage and as a result, images may appear distorted or the footage left subject to interpretation.  In fact, some cameras record every frame while others only record frames when the camera detects motion, which can be problematic if the nanny keeps going in and out of camera view. If you opt to install a nanny cam, be sure it is a high quality device that records in real-time.

3. Nanny cams can give a false sense of security. There is no alternative to attentive supervision of your nanny and regular monitoring of her activities and interactions with your child. Dropping in unexpectedly, coming home early, insisting a daily journal be kept and maintaining open lines of communication may give you better insight into what is really going on while you are away.

4. What you capture could be illegal. While it is legal to install a nanny cam in your home, Federal Wire-Tapping Laws state that it is illegal to tape conversations without the consent and knowledge of the person being taped. Some states also prohibit the secret recording of any speech and have laws that regulate where surveillance cameras can be placed. Be sure to educate yourself of federal and state laws if you opt to use a nanny cam.

5. Using a nanny cam without your nanny’s knowledge could breach her trust. If you opt to have a nanny cam, disclose that you have one upfront. Typically nannies do not care if their interactions with the children are recorded, but they do care if they were recorded without their knowledge or consent. Undisclosed cameras found by the nanny could also cause embarrassment to both the nanny and the family. For example, a nanny who changes her shirt in the living room because the baby spit up on it may feel spied upon should a nanny cam be found.

As a parent, you have the right and duty to monitor the quality of care that your child receives. While nanny cams may provide glimpses into your child’s day, thoroughly screening potential providers, monitoring for signs of abuse and neglect, dropping in unexpectedly (or asking a neighbor or friend to do the same), checking in by phone, and listening to your gut are all ways you can gain insight into the quality of care your child is receiving.


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