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Nanny Cam Debate: Snooping or Good Parenting?

Checking out Nanny Blogs, installing cameras and using GPS tracking are the latest steps Parents are taking to keep track of their Nannies. Good Morning America takes a look at what both Parents and Nannies opinions are of the latest Nanny surveillance technology.


new mommy said...

I used to be a nanny years ago and I have to agree with what the one nanny said: "if you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?" My daughter will be 6months old soon and I'll be heading back to work. We'll carefully screen for a nanny but you can never be 100% sure so you best bet I'm also going to install a nanny cam. Once I feel safe though it will be put away. I don't believe in constant surveillance but you should always put your children first and once you know they're ok, it then becomes snooping.

Kristin C. in Laguna said...

As both a parent and a nanny, I am very opposed to nanny cams. I feel that they are an invasion of privacy for the nanny involved. If the parent is SO concerned with their child being in danger, then they should be the one staying home and caring for their child themselves. I know, I know...people have to work in order to eat. Well if that is the case, then perhaps people should save money before having a baby, that way they can afford to stay home vs. returning to work.

I hate nanny cams!! I can't be relaxed and goofy with my charges. Since I know I am being videotaped, I do not sing (for the record, I have a horrible singing voice, however anyone under 6 does not mind!), I do not talk in any of my "funny voices" while doing my many impressions nor do I play comfortably. I always feel as if I am in a show, performing well so the parents know I am a good nanny.

My brother-in-law has a pretty young blond nanny. He videotapes her and uses the footage to "fantasize" about her when she is naked. He watched her go in the bathroom multiple times during the day (there is no camera in there he claims..hmmm) and also fantasizes what she looks like in there without her pants on, etc. He also shows his friends the footage to see if they think she is cute too.

I say instead of videotaping another individual without their consent, a parent should come home early unannounced sometimes. Also, have a neighbor keep an eye on the house and report anything suspicious.

new mommy said...


See, what your brother is doing is totally wrong. No wonder you have a bad taste in your mouth! But seriously, I have no plans to tell my nanny she will be on camera. Why would I want her to be fake? Of course she'll be playing up for the camera! What's the point then? But definitely, once you know your child is safe in the hands of a good nanny it's time to take it down. Also, having your neighbors keep an eye out is a good idea. That's why I like this blog, it's the eyes and ears of the public. But I do hope that other parents will first question their nanny or just do a "pop-in" as you suggest, before immediately firing their nanny. Everybody has bad days and I understand that. But blatant abuse or neglect will not be tolerated.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

new mommy, why not just say in your initial interviews, "I want you to know that we plan on occasionally using a nanny cam. If that is an issue for you, we understand, and we wish you the best of luck in your job search."? Be honest!

If you aren't honest about your plans, I bet you'll lose a terrific nanny when she finds out you were doubtful enough about her to video her without letting her know it was a possibility. Secret videotaping creates a huge breach of trust, IMO.

Not to mention, if you don't trust someone enough to NOT video them, what the heck are they doing in your home with your child?

need a moniker said...

Anonymous said...

Instead of a nanny cam here is a better idea. How about raising your own kids???? You had them, you need to raise them and not a stranger.

anon mom said...

Anonymous said...

I'm a mother and I'm not against nanny cams, but I do think you should tell them during the interview you might use it at some time. On a related note, I've been interviewing nannies recently and there's a surprising number who say they don't want to work for me if I'm going to be at home! Apparently, they can't do their jobs if someone can see them! I work from home and have deadlines, so I'm not there just to hover over them. Why should being observed make them unable to do their job? I used to work in a cubicle where anyone could see me, including the boss from his window. What's the difference?

Bostonnanny said...

Anon mom,

Because no matter how uninvolved you try to be, you will always become involved whether by choice or not. It's extremely difficult for children to adjust to a caregiver when mommy is just a room away who can overturn the caregivers authority. It can also be difficult for children with separation anxiety to see mom popping in or out.

Plus many parents like to switch up the nannies job description when they are around. For example, have nanny clean kitchen while mom plays with kids. Also some parents become resentful of the nanny's down time and decide that she doesn't need a break during nap time (because she's on the clock) and assign a million chores.

I personally wouldn't want to work for a work from home parent because of all the unnecessary stress added. However, my current employers do occasionally work from and we have none of these issues. But I've worked with them for years and they have always been wonderful.

I have mixed feelings about nanny cams, on one hand i understand the concern for new employers but if my employers had them I'd make sure I spent most of the day out of the house and I'd prob never use their restroom for fear of a cameras

Adele said...

@Anon Mom: Instead of being critical of the nannies you are interviewing, you should commend them for being smart enough to state upfront what makes them uncomfortable. It is always a good idea to state during interviews what one can and cannot deal w/in a job situation. Isn't it better to know upfront than to know later on (after your child becomes attached to the new caregiver?) that it is not a suitable match? Sounds to me like you are interviewing some pretty smart women here.

Working for a parent who works outside the home is a recipe for disaster Anon Mom. The child knows the parent is still home and therefore they may act out to get their parent to give them attention and/or they may undermine the nanny's authority throughout the day. Like bostonnanny stated, it is only natural as a parent that you would interfere. A common problem regarding nannies and work from home parents is the chore issue. Yes, once the child takes a nap, the nanny may want to rest up, eat lunch, catch up on phone calls and e-mails, etc. But when the stay at home parent sees this, they may get upset since the nanny is technically on the clock. They may ask the nanny to organize the child's closet or wipe down the stroller, etc...since they see the nanny doing "nothing."

As a nanny, I would NEVER work for a stay at home parent. It has nothing to do with how I treat my charges, it has everything to do with how the stay at home parent will be listening and watching my every move. I will have absolutely no autonomy in my duties and I will be given orders and criticized throughout the day.

Just because a nanny does not want to work alongside a work from home parent, does not mean she will be abusing or neglecting your children. It only means that she prefers to work independently and have complete autonomy. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Adele' said...

*inside the home

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

anon mom, I've worked for SAH, WAH, and WOH parents, and I do prefer WOH employers. When a parent is at home, as you can read on this blog, lots of things can go "wrong" from Nanny's perspective:

1) Parent pops in and out constantly, unsettling child each time.

2) Parent has office right next to playroom, meaning nanny and child must be quiet at all times.

3) Parent constantly asks "Why are you..." in a tone that feels accusatory to the nanny.

4) Parent tells nanny to not allow child to disrupt parent, then overrules nanny when she tries to whisk child away from parent's office.

5) Parent seems to resent the free time nanny has once she has completed any household chores during nap time. This usually leads to parent either adding work to nanny's job that she didn't agree to do, or to parent coming out to stare at nanny and sigh loudly a lot.

6) Parent wants nanny to be the "bad guy", so parent can relieve guilt over working by allowing child(ren) to get away with murder.

Not saying you would do any of these (or the dozens of other irritants reported by nannies for AH parents), but that's why you're getting the responses you are from potential nannies.

It basically boils down to the fact that the parent feels they are more capable of handling their child than the nanny is, and resenting that nanny gets to be with the child having "fun" all day while the parent works.

To accurately compare a cubicle job to working as nanny to AH parents, you'd need to factor in that your supervisor is annoyed that you have your job, wishes he/she could be doing your job because he/she does it SO MUCH BETTER, and thinks you are the lucky one in the office to have the "fun" job the supervisor really loves.

lady mama said...

I will never work for a family that uses nanny cams again. I worked for a crazy high profile family that had cams in every room, and I couldn't relax and be my silly self. The only thing that kept me there was my outrageous paycheck. I would've been gone by the first week if the pay wasn't so good.

alex said...

I am torn by nanny cams. I think they are great to see if your nanny is doing a good job and agree with if you are doing a good job there is nothing to worry about. But then I think about how other jobs would feel if they had a camera.

Maybe I fall within the use it in the beginning, see how the nanny is and then take it away. And also, if you feel you can't trust your nanny you should let them go.

Reese said...

@Tales...Well said. I couldn't have said it better myself. The reasons you listed hit the nail on the head. I have worked for WAH parents and those jobs always ended in disaster w/me walking out within a week. I couldn't stand having to be quiet at all times, having the parent pop in and out disrupting the child and constantly having chores thrown upon me when I completed my previous ones. The children alway act differently when they know Mom or Dad is right across the hall, and nannies who do this type of work should get paid more for the added stress of these types of set-ups.

Regarding nanny cams, they should NEVER be used w/out the nanny's consent. Full disclosure is in the best interest for all parties involved (child inc.) and it creates goodwill for a successful working relationship. If a parent films a nanny w/out her permission, it just shows that the family is deceitful and will try anything they want if they can get away w/it. I once had a family inform me I was filmed the first week I was working and I could never trust them again..EVER. I gave my notice, but then quit promptly since I figured if they lied to me about being filmed, what else did they lie to me about? They claimed there were no cameras in the bathroom, but since I bathed the child in there daily, I did not believe them. How could I? They had already deceived me once. How was I to trust they wouldn't do it again?? Nanny cams should ONLY be used if the nanny is okay w/them. Period.

Nanny Franny said...

Like George S. said..."It just doesn't feel right..."

MPP, expect to have triple the amount of visitors after this piece!!! Congratulations on your blog and what an innovative idea.

lexeael13 said...

i am against the cameras and agree fully with the others who are against it. how would people with office jobs like your every move video taped how often you do whatever etc i think its a violation of privacy

marlie & rob said...

Way to go! I love to see you getting the recognition you deserve. Your idea was original and inventive and got people talking. Way to go. Way to go!

I said...

I do everything as if I am being watched because you never know. But it doesn't make me uncomfortable or "act" any differently. I do what I do when I want to do it. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about!

Also, I love that this blog was in the video =]

another nanny said...

But if you worked in a daycare, for example, you would have other adults (co-teachers) in the classroom with you, and would still use silly voices, sing songs, etc. There also might be cameras there (sometimes they have a web feed so that parents can check on their kids from work). If you know it's in the child's best interest why be so self-conscious about it?

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

another nanny, I can only speak for myself, but personally I abhor being filmed and having my picture taken. It makes me very uncomfortable.

Would I take a job where there was the chance of being nanny cammed? Only if everything else was an absolutely PERFECT fit, and that includes the pay/benefit package.

Of course, I also think that if a parent feels the need to record their nanny, that nanny shouldn't be in the home to begin with. Very few parents film from the very moment a nanny starts working for them. They usually (and I would guess that in 90% of the cases this is true) say, "Well, something just feels wrong, so I'll use a nanny cam."

Reference the post a few days ago where the 4 yo says nanny hit his little brother, and mom/OP is wondering what to do. IMO, that isn't a "wonder what to do and buy a nanny cam" situation. That's a "find new childcare ASAP" situation, unless the 4 yo is a habitual liar.

Screen, screen, screen, and then screen some more before hiring.

Trust your instincts and listen to what the references tell you AND what they DON'T say. If all the references are vague, consider that nanny might have friends posing as past employers, and either ask for more people to call or give that nanny a pass.

UmassSlytherin said...

I think nanny cams are ridiculous. The only way to really know how your nanny is doing is to know your child well, and to do regular surprise drop-ins.

Nanny cams are for lazy parents who have power trips, in my opinion.

I would never do anything on cam to be worried about, however, if I found a nanny cam that I had not been told about at my job, I would quit on the spot. If a parent told me they would be using a nanny cam, I would not take the position.

to anon mom: ??? said...

To anon mom:

It is a personal choice whether or not to work for a stay at home or work from home mom. I would never do it, and not because I don't want someone to see me working.

It is intrusive and annoying to work for a mom who is home. I had a trial period as a nanny once and the mother worked from home and it was a nightmare. After the trial period, they offered me the job and I declined.

Truth Seeker said...

I only would work under a nanny cam if I was being paid a very pretty penny for being filmed daily. It is so intrusive and feeds into the myth that all nannies are child abusers. Why don't other household get filmed? Maids, elder caregivers, gardeners, etc...People have such bad impressions of nannies it makes me angry. Anyway, I think that I would be very self-conscious if I was being filmed all day. I would not be as silly as I am once the parents leave. I would also be leery of using the restroom since how would I know if the parents would install one in there, esp. if I had child-bathing duties. It is best if these cameras didn't exist. They are violate a nanny's right to be a good nanny.

Truth Seeker said...

Thumbs up!!

Heather M said...

Oh my. I have to have my photo taken every time I pump gas, use an ATM, go to the grocer, even cross the street. You damn bet YOU watching an innocent child should be on camera. If you're so opposed you have something to hide.

world's best nanny said...

I got fired back in the day. Remember the movie "The Lion King?" Their nanny cam "caught" me dancing to "Hakuna Matata" with their 22 month old. I was fired because the TV was on and I was whipping the baby around too much! I had no idea there was a camera in the room until the mom said I don't like the TV on during the day. Read: We plunk him in front of it at night.
I wasn't being careful with his neck while we were dancing, um hello he was 22 months old! If your 22 year old doesn't have good neck and head control there is a major problem!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Heather M: That is so untrue what you said. Just because someone is uncomfortable being filmed on a daily basis does not mean they are doing something wrong. I hate being filmed and could not work a Nanny job where I was being videotaped. I am a HUGE goofball at work and love to be silly and have fun w/my charges. If I knew I was being filmed, I would be very reserved and not show my goofy side since most adults may interpret it on a whole different level than a child would. I also would wonder if there was a camera in the bathroom. I would never know for sure, even if I was assured there was not one in there. Also, what would the parents do w/the video footage? Would they ever show it to their friends just so they could give their opinion about something I may have said or done? Perhaps post me on youtube doing something funny??! Bottom Line: Any family who resorts to using a camera to film a Nanny needs to have their heads checked. Or stay home and raise their own kids. Take your pick.

World's Best Nanny: Your situation clearly demonstrates how nannycams can backfire. If your every move is being analyzed and you are being micromanaged all the time, things will only head South eventually. I think you are better off w/out that crazy family. For them to film you w/out offering full disclosure about the cameras shows they are a sneaky family and who knows what else they had kept from you?????? You are so much better off working for an honest and ethical family. Which I hope you are now. :)

nycmom said...

I believe using a nanny cam for the first 1-2 weeks of employing a new nanny, if your kids are too young to be accurate reporters, is responsible parenting. No matter how much we all want to believe we are a perfect judge of character and references never lie, this just isn't reality.

I think it would be crazy to assume you can trust a stranger - even a well-vetted stranger - with your children with no oversight. After the first 1-2 weeks, I'd get rid of the camera as THEN I would feel I could trust my caregiver. I've seen too many videos and heard too many stories of abuse from nannies who came with glowing references and clean background checks.

Also, I'm filmed at my job everyday during every patient interaction. I have absolutely NO problem with this. I work with a vulnerable population, similar to young children, and believe it would be irresponsible for the hospital to not be watching.

I know, given this is a 95% nanny site, that most nannies will disagree. WBN's example is an unfortunate one, but I have to assume those employers were not going to be great anyway. They would have always found fault. Decent employers screen only for physical abuse and obvious neglect, not for nitpicky details.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

nycmom, would you disclose to a potential nanny that you would be using a nanny cam? If so, then I have no issue with your filming at will, as long as the nanny knows there is always the possibility she'll be in camera and is personally OK with that.

I do have to say though that a nasty abusive nanny isn't going to neccessarily start smacking her charges around within the first few weeks. If a parent is going to film, they need to just accept that they don't feel they can fully trust their caregiver, and they should plan to film randomly (varying the time and place) throughout the time she is in their home caring for their children.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

nycmom: if you are going to use the cameras, then at least offer full disclosure to your Nanny. That would only be fair. I know, I are thinking that is defeating the purpose, but I disagree. If a Nanny really wanted to strike your child, she would take him or her into the bathroom and do it or perhaps do it while out on an outing. Remember: "Where there is a will..there is certainly a way.." But we are being very extreme here. The vast majority of Nannies love what they do, adore their charges and would never in a million yrs ever ever abuse and/or neglect another child. Just because a few bad apples have, doesn't mean that every nanny should be under the same suspicion. What other profession designs cameras SPECIFICALLY for certain professions? Us nannies have "nanny-cams"..why aren't there "mechanic-cams"?..let's face it guys, there are more shady mechanics out there than bad Nannies. Or perhaps "elder caregiver-cams?"....the list could go on. Nannies get such a bad rap.

MissMannah said...

I think nanny cams are a good thing, as long as they are used ethically. Like someone else said, if I found out an employer had been filming me without telling me, I'd quit on the spot. Sure it is legal to film someone without her consent in your own home, but it isn't ethical. I've had several interviews where the parents say they plan to use nanny cams and am I ok with that. I always say sure because I have nothing to hide and that's the absolute truth. Why should I care if the parents want to see what we're doing all day? However, I do not think a parent should bring in the nanny cam after the nanny has been there for awhile. If you trusted her for awhile and are starting to lose enough trust that you feel you have to film her, you need to just let her go. You're not going to regain that trust, no matter what you see.

To Kristin: I want to call the cops on your brother in law. He is disgusting and at the very least, I think the nanny deserves to know so she has the chance to quit before she is sexually harassed.

MissMannah said...

PS: I doubt I will be in this situation later on, but if I do end up wanting to hire a nanny after I have children, I will definitely use a nanny cam. And if I give the nanny a car to use while she's working, I'll be installing a GPS. It is the parent's right to know exactly what their child is doing and where their child is.

nycmom said...


No, I would not disclose it. For me, that would defeat the purpose.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Miss Mannah: If you use a Nannycam and install a GPS, I would hope that you would do the right thing and inform your Nanny. If I was going to be videotaped, I would want to know upfront. Then it would be up to me to decide if the position was worth it. I think the Nanny should have a signed copy from the family that explicitly states she will not be filmed in the bathroom area, that any video footage obtained by the family is to only be viewed by the parents and most important that none of the footage will be on youtube or any other internet site. Both sides should have copies and the Nanny must also be notified of what times the camera will be filming.

nycmom: I don't see how it "defeats the purpose." It seems like you want to catch the Nanny doing something. Instead of taking the time and spending the money on spying on your Nanny, why not hire someone you can truly trust????! If your gut is telling you that you should videotape another human being for the sake of your child(ren), then perhaps that is a red flag that you should get another Nanny or stay home w/your child(ren). Don't worry, we will always need good Dr's. You will have no problem getting a job later on once the kids grow up. ;)

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

nycmom, I don't get your POV here, because to me, saying during interviews, "We will be using a nanny cam while you are employed with us." would not only weed out nannies who might be inclined to neglect or laziness, but would also let you know who would be fine with being cammed, and who would therefore be less likely to be abusive or neglectful.

You're not saying when you'll video or where, you're just saying it will happen at some point. Then you hire, have your nanny cams in place, and activate them randomly until you are no longer feeling the need to see what nanny does while you are gone.

You obviously know you are being filmed at work, so I am guessing you were told that was the case when you interviewed. Why not extend the same courtesy to your nanny?

I do get your point about adding an extra layer of protection when kids are too young to accurately report. And I still like you. :-)

nycmom said...


My goal is not to weed out people who fear a nanny cam. My goal is to weed out people who are excellent at deception during hiring, then show their true colors when they think no one is watching. If they know the nanny cam is there, I would fear a neglectful nanny would simply be on guard at home and slack off outside the home.

I don't really see how this is any different than what Jane Doe advocated above: having someone surreptiously spy on your nanny at the park. They both involve gathering proof of a nanny's treatment of your child without her knowledge. They both involve direct visual observation with an unaware nanny. I'd just rather do it discreetly in my home and not involve another person. As JD said, and I unfortunately share, "It is so important to know how our children are being treated when we aren't around. I've been fooled."

I also don't want to keep nanny camming on an ongoing basis and creating a home environment of my nanny feeling "watched." I just want to visually ascertain basic decent childcare and establish trust. I vehemently believe a parent would be crazy to trust ANY hired caregiver without some direct observation. I've been fooled. JD has been fooled. Every parent with a terrible nanny cam video has been fooled. Most parents of the sitings on here have been fooled. It would be hubris for me to think I was infallible in the hiring process.

FWIW, no I was not told of filming when being hired for my current job. I knew there were security guards, but not that there were cameras or where they were located. Didn't even occur to me initally, but after the death at Kings County on video I am even more convinced of the value of video. You cannot prevent the first horrible act, but you can prevent future ones.

Anyway, seems we will disagree on this! Maybe that's good so we will no longer be suspected of being the same person :)

MissMannah said...

Just My Two Cents,
I said in my post I think it is unethical to film a person without telling her. I think it would go without saying that tracking her whereabouts without telling her would also be unethical. Read carefully.

What's wrong with full disclosure? I've had parents tell me they'll pop in throughout the day to check up on us and that they'd use nanny cams. I don't know if they've ever sent spies to the playground, but if they did then it was obviously no problem. Hey, maybe this is my midwestern naivete showing through again. I just figured you'd be able to tell during an interview if the nanny has a problem with being watched.

Youngster said...

nycmom: The difference in the two observation situations you mentioned is that when you film a Nanny, you have something TANGIBLE to show for it. Many people have had their lives ruined due to video footage, etc. When if the Nanny used the bathroom and had the door open (which I do all the time when caring for young children?) Or when if she changed her clothes in the living room? A Nanny needs to have full come you do not think so? It's like you are trying to catch your Nanny in the act of abusing your children? Also, you need to sign a form saying you will not use the footage in an inappropriate manner. Nannies have rights. They should be allowed to exercise them.

nycmom said...


As I said, I fully expect my view to be unpopular given the demographics of users on this site. I explained my viewpoint clearly just above:

"My goal is to weed out people who are excellent at deception during hiring, then show their true colors when they think no one is watching. If they know the nanny cam is there, I would fear a neglectful nanny would simply be on guard at home and slack off outside the home."

If a nanny is committing reportable abuse, then having nanny cam footage is best not just for my child but for EVERY child who is potentially being saved from future abuse by this nanny. However, I have no interest in saving cam footage or catching any minor issues. All I want is to make sure there is no physical abuse or neglect. Until you've been fooled by a nanny you thought was great, it's hard to conceive how it can happen.

Regardless, I certainly am not legally obligated to disclose the cams nor sign any kind of paperwork. There are already laws in place which prevent public dissemination of camera footage for personal gain or to soley to be harmful (assuming no criminal behavior) so an extra piece of paper would be meaningless. Nannies do have rights, all of which I comply with. However, being informed of a nanny cam's presence is simply not a legal right - sorry. Finally, for yourself and others who have the same concerns why not just assume you are always on cam while working in the home? Then you won't make any uncomfortable errors and can close the bathroom door!

Youngster said...

nycmom: I would love to close the bathroom door, but when caring for crawling babies and/or walking toddlers it is not always possible. Catastrophes happen within seconds around young children, and I would be 100% responsible if anything (God Forbid) were to happen to my charge. As a mother yourself, I am surprised you do not know this. Anyway, I never said you were legally bound to disclose the cameras or sign paperwork. But you need to factor ethics into the equation if you desire a Nanny/Parent relationship with mutual respect. I am sorry you were duped by a former nanny, but seriously..get over it. Not ALL nannies are like the one you employed. In fact, the vast majority of us LOVE our jobs and excel at what we do believe it or not. You can't carry a grudge your whole life just because of one or two bad experiences. If you harbor such mistrust about nannies in general, why not put your children into school or just stay home and raise them yourself?

Yes, regarding the demographics of this blog, you may encounter a backlash for your opinions. Why? Because you are being unreasonable. Nannies should not be treated like potential child abusers/molesters and the like. Do you secretly film your maid??

nycmom said...


I do not have a maid. Nor do I film my current nanny.

Yes, I understand the need to watch your kids which is why I would take them into the bathroom with me and close the door if I had your concerns.

I do not "carry a grudge" against all nannies. However, I do place my obligation to ensure my children are safe as my highest priority. If that means filming a new nanny for 1-2 weeks until trust is established, then so be it. Anyway, for now, the law is on my side and I will continue to do this as will many other moms I know. If you choose to work as a nanny, you will have to accept that you *may* get filmed without your knowledge - because I guarantee you aren't going to be able to determine 100% if someone is or is not filming you.

Youngster said...

nycmom: As both a mother of young children and a working nanny, I laughed out loud (LOL) when I read that I should bring the children into the bathroom and close the door. Number one: (No pun intended!) have you ever had to pee so bad...that you had to go ASAP? Well, do you also know how long it takes to wrangle a toddler or two into the bathroom and close the door without the child screaming? Most of the time, toddlers hate the sound of the toilet flushing and/or the door closed. Please be more realistic. Number two: ( pun intended) Imagine if that was all caught on tape. Imagine a nanny bringing her charges into the bathroom, then closing the door. That in itself would look mighty suspicious and the nanny would be suspicious of child molestation if the footage was shown to law enforcement.

I do not believe the law is on your side nycmom as you stated. There are many loopholes involved and each of these are gray areas...not black and white. When if your child was playing around with the video tape and someone else got his or her hands on it? When if you accidentally mixed it up with another tape and again, someone saw it who was not authorized to see it. Then when if they sent the footage to others..and when if someone posted it online on youtube, Facebook, etc....You would be screwed. I would just not film anyone and that way, everyone is safe.

SanDiegoNanny said...

I agree with nycmom---if parents want to have a nanny cam (and do not plan on using the footage but anything but their personal review of the safety of their child's care with a nanny) I don't think they need to disclose to the nanny.

There have been many times where I have wondered if someone that I nannied for had a nanny only concern is always for the 'awkward' things I do while nannying like going to the bathroom with door open, or eating excessive chocolate chips or watching a Real Housewives marathon while I take care of the baby. If someone watched me on film they would probably think I was pretty odd...but also see that I LOVE their kids. At the end of the day..I don't really care if someone has a nanny cam (in good faith) because I am confident in my skills as a nanny.

IF someone was to casually bring up my chocolate chip binge eating though it might get awkward.

nanny2 said...

It seems unfair to tell parents "Your kids are your most precious possession" when negotiating a contract, but then complain that they are overbearing, obsessive, or worse when they treat their children as such through the use of nanny cams. Shouldn't we be glad that parents film the nanny rather than the maid or mechanic (as this indicates they care for more for the kids than for their silverware or car)?
To me, the nanny cam in and of itself doesn't determine if the parents are good people/employers.

Ohio Nanny said...

nycmom said: Tales,

No, I would not disclose it. For me, that would defeat the purpose.

I don't understand this POV. What purpose? Catching someone who got through your radar??

Nanny cams should be used to prevent abuse, not catch it. I would NEVER want my child to have to go through even ONE abusive situation just so I can catch someone who has been deceptive and I happened to miss it!

For the record, I am not wild about nanny cams but if I was told one would be used, it would not be a deal breaker. As a matter of fact, with very young charges who are unable to speak yet, I would almost prefer a camera for MY OWN protection.

However, I have always had a VERY hard time understanding views similar to nycmom who think using cameras to CATCH a nanny possibly abusing your child (which means your child would have to suffer the abuse for it to be caught) rather than preventing it, and weeding people out from the get go so your child will most likely NOT have to experience it because nannies prone to abuse would never agree to work in front of a camera.

Sure, they can abuse out of sight, but most likely they're not going to take a job that has video monitoring if they're that type.

confident nanny said...

To youngster,

I'm a nanny and have no problem being videotaped. I'm confident in my job as a nanny and understand it is the parents RIGHT to feel secure in the knowledge they've selected a good nanny. I would love to work for someone like nycmom as it seems she does just what I hope would be done. After the hiring process, video cam me for a couple of weeks to make CERTAIN she was correct in choosing me to care for her beloved children. Sorry, but you seem very ill-informed and extremely naive. Your name suits you.

To Ohio Nanny,

Really? As stated above, I'm very comfortable in my abilities as a good nanny, however I once had a position where after a week of employment it wasn't a great match. I still did my job,, but not with the enthusiasm a mother would expect while I looked for another job. I know that's not neglectful or abusive BUT parents have EVERY right to hire someone they think will mesh well with their kids. And just what do you think the whole point of a nanny cam is? Of course you can hire a nanny that interviews well and then a week later CATCH them abusing your child. What world do you live in?

You said:
"Nanny cams should be used to prevent abuse, not catch it. I would NEVER want my child to have to go through even ONE abusive situation just so I can catch someone who has been deceptive and I happened to miss it!"

Seriously, do you think all moms have some kind of spidey sense? lol, there's just no way to ever know for sure 100% that your kids are safe!

nycmom said...

Thanks for the support San Diego Nanny, Nanny2, and confident nanny! I know I have "talked" on here with other nannies who have understood this position. And, yes, I absolutely have no interest in ongoing use of a nanny cam. I would use it ONLY for the first 1-2 weeks and then either I make the choice to trust, or not. I also have no interest in filming bathroom doors and have no idea where this paranoia comes from actually. People film the areas where kids are 90% of the time - the living room and kids' bedroom. If pervy parents are filming the bathroom, you have bigger problems than the nanny cam.

FWIW, I've actually only used a nanny cam once with my current nanny for the first 3-4 days of her employment (and only in the living room). It was so obvious from fast-forwarding through the footage that she was kind, attentive, and honest. That was all I needed. I would never film her now or again. If at this point something significant caused me doubt - and there have been things we have discussed - I would address it openly and honestly.

The concept that you can someone magically prevent all abuse/neglect by a new caregiver is clueless at best, and arrogant at worst.

"I would NEVER want my child to have to go through even ONE abusive situation just so I can catch someone who has been deceptive and I happened to miss it!"

Of course no one WANTS their child to be abused. The goal is not to set your child up as bait for abuse so you can do a sting operation on a revolving door of suspicious nannies. But you are truly naive if you think you have a foolproof hiring process and that no nanny who was abusive/neglectful could EVER slip through. Because it happens. That's why you can google horrid nanny cam videos. That's why this site exists - it is essentially a Community Nanny Cam with all of us watching out for each other's kids. There have been some awful stories on here. There might be some parents electing to ignore signs of abuse, but for the most part these sitings are from parents who are getting fooled.

Youngster, perhaps you have very different experience with kids and using the bathroom than I do as a parent and past caregiver. If I want to go to the bathroom and I want my kids in there for privacy, I carry them in. If they scream, so be it. I truly don't get the concept that I would be incapable of bringing my kids into the bathroom if that were my goal. Now, often it isn't and I don't mind leaving the door open. For the times were I need to close the door, they might not like it, though in reality I have never had much trouble making a few minutes in the bathroom fun or setting them up outside safely. But I'm the parent and if that is what I say, then it goes - screaming or not. As I said, I never have nor would I ever film a bathroom door. However, if it happened by some odd mistake. I would totally support my nanny if she felt the need to bring the screaming kids in the bathroom. Kids cry. That really doesn't bother me and I'd be glad to see her be firm.

"I do not believe the law is on your side nycmom as you stated."

Then you would be wrong. Nanny cam without audio is legal in all 50 states. Period. Yes, intentional misuse of the footage for personal gain or exploitation is illegal, but that has zero to do with the topic at hand. What exactly do you think is on nanny cam footage that is so subject to others wanting to steal it? It's actually incredibly boring, as would my weekend days with my kids be. Yes, I suppose if a parent were careless enough to allow the footage to fall into the hands of an evil facebooking nanny-enemy and the nanny suffered true damages, the parents would be legally at risk. Luckily, we erased ours each day and this was not something I have any concern about. How many cases of nanny cam abuse have you read about? How many cases of nanny cam footage being misused to harm an innocent nanny have you read about?

Anyway, seems we are going to have to agree to disagree!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I think the basic difference in opinion (difference in approach?) here boils down to whether one enters a nanny/parent relationship expecting:

A) Nanny has been checked out thoroughly, and parents believe nanny will perform admirably. Parent(s) have let nanny know she may be taped at any point in any legal location. Nanny has agreed to this clause.

B) Nanny has been vetted, but parent(s) do not trust nanny will perform in reality as well as she appears she will perform in interviews and through background/reference checks. Parent(s) do not trust nanny or their hiring practices, and tape nanny secretly to assure themselves she is not abusive or neglectful.

I identify with (A), but I can understand (B), especially if a parent has had their child(ren) hurt by a "nanny" in the past.

It's too bad that some rotten caregivers wind up costing past employers the chance to have a full-disclosure trusting relationship with a new nanny.

For those parents who do tape secretly, has a nanny ever discovered you were taping and if so what was their reaction?

both sides... said...

I see both sides of this issue. I care for three families part time. I have a feeling that one of the families could have a nanny cam. I don't sing and dance with those kids because I am too embarassed to have any adults watching me. Some of those silly moments are my favorite times with the other kids that I care for. Although it is negligible, I think that the kids that have the camera miss out on a little bit of the relationship because my interactions with the children are guided by what I think the parents will think as oppossed to what the kids think...

However, when I have a baby myself, I will probably really want a camera just to be sure...

Ohio Nanny said...

@ confident nanny,

I am not certain what you read into my post. I never said parents did not have a right to use cameras. I said that using a nanny cam is not a deal breaker for me at all. I also never accused you of not being a good nanny, so am unsure where that part came in where you seem to feel I was attacking that aspect. My point is, with disclosure, you'll weed out a good portion of the nannies from the very beginning who may be shady because they will be aware they're being videoed at any given time and they;ll most likely want no part of it. There was no where in my post where I said parents did not have that right. Did you actually read my answer?

My response about possibly setting your child up came from this line that nycmom said,

"My goal is to weed out people who are excellent at deception during hiring, then show their true colors when they think no one is watching. If they know the nanny cam is there, I would fear a neglectful nanny would simply be on guard at home and slack off outside the home."

It was my understanding that this is done without disclosure of the cameras being in place. My point is, IF you disclosed the cameras from the beginning, this type of nanny would most likely NOT take the job, you would have weeded her out from the start without actually risking the possibility of an incident that your child has to go through to wave that red flag for you. Yes, it is always possible that slacking will go on outside the home, but I believe that someone prone to overall slacking would decline a job where they know cameras are being used, and would not get in the door to begin with.

As a nanny, tho, of course I am always aware that there is a possibility that I am being video taped without disclosure. I have nothing to fear from that, I just would like to know that my every move, even those NOT pertaining to the care of the children, is being monitored. Like some, I act silly' dancing and singing and such with the kids that I would never be comfortable performing in such a way for adults. I even said I prefer the use in certain situations for my own security that the parents have full knowledge of the care of their child who is too young to tell them how their day was.

So, which part of my post are you reading into that I think parents have no right to use cameras??

@ nycmom,

I fully agree with you that the hiring process is not foolproof. I just do not see what that has to do with full disclosure of the nanny cam to the nanny you hire, because it does seem by what you stated in another comment (quoted at the beginning of this post) that you do it to see if someone slipped through your radar. My point, as stated above, is that you could most likely prevent even hiring that type of person who may slip through by simply mentioning that you may periodically use cameras. And, that way, your child is less likely to have to go through a potentially traumatic incident for you to find it out.

However, I do see your view. I am a mother myself; of course I see it. I just happen to believe that disclosure actually protects your child more from a potentially harmful situation, even if it's just one time and one time only.

nycmom said...

Tales and Ohio,

Thanks for an intelligent and polite discussion. I can see both sides too and if I hadn't been once bitten, twice shy I would never have even considered a cam.

FWIW, my favorite moments I saw on the nanny cam - the ones that convinced me my nanny was amazing - were the ones where she was acting silly and unselfconscious. So even if you think you might be taped, keep in mind that's the kind of caregiving most parents LOVE. It would never reflect poorly on you!

Ohio Nanny said...

@ nycmom,

Regarding horrible nanny cam videos, I would bet that most of those happened with undisclosed cameras. The nanny was 'caught'. I do wonder the probability of the same nannies taking those jobs from the beginning if use of cameras were disclosed. It may have saved the children from having to live through those instances of mistreatment. Maybe not in all cases, but probably in many.

I do realize that some of the videos come from families who started to get suspicious after the fact because something didn't seem right, and they installed cameras. I have to admit, if I had a nanny already in place, started having suspicions that something bad was happening, I would probably install a camera to find it out. I do view that differently than having every intention of using a camera when you hire someone and not disclosing it.

I have a child who was mistreated in the past at a daycare center(he is now 18). I also have a disabled child who is very vulnerable with which my protective nature is very fierce. Believe me, I fully understand wanting to be confident that your children are being well taken care of.

Also, nycmom, the way you describe your use does not seem to be over the top to me, as if you are truly "spying", so to speak. Absolutely you have a right, and my difference of opinion is simply in regards to the disclosure. But not all parents are like you. There are those who use it to secretly monitor the nanny's every move in order to critique what she is doing, and why and how and draw conclusions about her that may not be accurate. It feels like it's almost like snooping in those instances.

From reading this blog and others elsewhere, there are a slew of crazy nannies and crazy employers both. I have worked while MB was home, while grandparents were present and have been fortunate to have worked mostly with wonderful families. I like to think the wonderful employers are the rule rather than the exception.

However, it IS different when you are being watched, and NOT because you have something to hide. Constantly running through my mind was if they were questioning the things that I may do differently from them as negative. It was daunting to have MB come right behind me and micro-manage everything I did. For instance, once I was changing the baby's bib cuz she had spit up. I laid it over the edge of the sink to rinse out (as MB required them to be) after I had finished the immediate care of the baby. Her nap was due to be very soon and my intention was to rinse out the bib after the baby was down. MB came right behind me as I was picking up baby from changing table, picked up the bib, started talking to me like a child and saying, "The bib needs to be rinsed out and put inside the washing machine immediately." As she completed the task herself with exasperation. This was one such example. Watching my every move as if she was WAITING to catch me in something she didn't like. That would make even the best of nannies uncomfortable, I would imagine.

THIS kind of micromanaging is what can make the cameras less of a tool for being secure in the quality of care for your child than trying to find anything you can to criticize what the nanny is doing.

In your job, you mention that you have cameras and you indicated it was a medical job. You, surely, have disclosure and have from the beginning, yes? You may not have had a problem with not having it disclosed; however, think about if your boss was constantly coming behind you after you dealt with a patient and critiqued your method, your timing, your lack of smiling as much as they feel you should with your patient, the fact that entered something in the computer chart before you rendered the treatment or vice versa, how long you took to administer the treatment, whether you spent too much or too little time with the patient.

From what I gather, YOU do not do this. But there are many parents out there who are like this, as we see by many stories told on this forum and others.

nanny2 said...

Ohio Nanny, I have to respectfully disagree with you. With parents who watch the video and then micromanage you, the issue is not the camera, it's the micromanagement. Using a nanny cam in and of itself is pretty neutral in my opinion. If you have an otherwise reasonable employer it is pretty much a non-issue, whereas if you have not such a great employer, there will be problems regardless of the presence of a nanny cam.

Truth Seeker said...

As both a working nanny and working mother, I would leave in a heartbeat if a family either disclosed to me that I was "secretly" being filmed while watching their child or if I found a nanny cam in the house. I do not think deception is going to build a respectful Nanny/Parent relationship. Deception only manifests itself as anger, betrayal and disloyal. If a family is going to film someone, they should at least offer full disclosure. I have seen ads on CL, sittercity and where the parent specifically states that nanny cams will be on and that the nanny they hire should be comfortable with that or need not apply. I applaud those parents. That is a great beginning step in establishing respect and trust between the family, nanny and most importantly..the child (ren.)

nycmom: You keep justifying that nanny cams are LEGAL, so therefore they are perfectly fine to use. Since when does LEGAL = ETHICAL??? Come on...let's face it, just because something legal, does not justify it being right. Not to open Pandora's box, but currently gay marriage, gays in the military, etc...are not legal. Also, remember the Holocaust and all of the Jewish people that were arrested for being Jewish? Technically, it was legal for them to be arrested and sent to death camps..yet today all of us can agree while legal at the time, it most def was unethical to do this.

nycmom said...

Truth Seeker,

You are going a bit crazy with comparing nanny cams to the Holocaust. But I guess Godwin's Law does apply!

I am obviously quite comfortable morally and ethically with the use of a nanny cam for a short period after hiring a new nanny.

I am also done with this discussion. I have stated my views quite clearly above. Nothing productive is going to come when the discussion devolves to ridiculous comparisons. As I said above to others, we'll have to agree to disagree.

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

I do not think it is ethical for a man and man to marry since biblical teachings do not allow this.

Just saying....