2015 Discussions Nanny Cameras

     "I wanted to post a question and see what kind of feedback I can get back. I was wondering, what is everyone's views on nanny cams? I'm sure this has been brought up in the past, but technology is so prevalent nowadays that I wonder if any views have changed. I am interested in hearing from both nannies and employers. Thanks!"

     "I interviewed a professional nanny candidate and she asked me if we used nanny cameras. I said no. We don't. But I though that an odd question, and it really made me want to use one."

      "My employer and I had a falling out. We were very close for two years. When I spoke to her last week, I asked her to pay me the back vacation pay she owed me or I would take her to small claims court. She told me, 'you do that and I've got some nanny camera footage that will break youtube'." ?

     "My employer has a home camera system that records picture and audio. This is part of his security system, but I have been told it is illegal to record sound on nannies."

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Pros&Cons said...

As a nanny, I am torn between the two very legitimate sides of nanny cams. Let me start by saying, I never have asked a family if they have nanny cams, but I always assume that they do. I can't imagine how nerve wracking it must be to leave your just barely born baby (or any of your children) with a virtual stranger. Just because you suppled a background check and references doesn't mean that you aren't a stranger. As a nanny, I've never been threatened with nanny cam footage, so I can't imagine how that must feel, but I imagine that it sucks (although wtf were you doing that they are holding against you? That's all on you if you've been a crappy nanny) As a nanny, I would prefer for a family to disclose the use of nanny cams upfront, as this would make me feel most comfortable. It doesn't change my actions, but it does make me a bit more self conscious (like, hey- maybe I won't shake my groove thang and have a middle of the day dance party in your living room). So I guess that the long winded way to say that I am pro nanny cam and pro full disclosure of said nanny cams.

Fiona said...

I've never used a nanny camera. I've had six nannies in 9 years. Some worked out well, others not as great, but nothing a nanny camera would have caught. My issues with nannies had to do with punctuality, sick days, etc. If you are using a nanny camera to catch a nanny abuse your child, you haven't done your due diligence. Most of my nannies have existed in the age of FB. I ask for access to their FB page. They don't have to give it, but if there is something on there that I shouldn't see, why would I want them as a nanny? I had one nanny who would post crazy stories of going out hijinks on the weekend, even ending up in Baltimore. I wouldn't have known she was that wild and crazy girl by the way she took care of my children during the week. I think it is more helpful to know your nanny and her friends and family and have a window in to who she really is than a nanny camera. I always ask about family. If family is in town or visiting, I always offer to meet them or take them to dinner. In the beginning it wasn't the most comfortable thing for either side. But no, I wouldn't use nanny cameras. I have friends with younger children who think they've done something spectacular by placing high end nanny cameras in random public areas of their house. I don't understand it. Be nice to your nannies. Treat them with respect. I am still in contact with all of my former nannies, not regular contact, but holiday cards. Some watch my FB page for child photos and updates.

Anonymous said...

I have never hired a nanny before (SAHM) but I do always have a regular part time mothers help who comes two or three times a week. I have never felt the need to use a nanny cam to see what they are doing- but then they only come for 3 hours at a time and are full of beans. If I had to work and was leaving my children with someone for very long hours, I might insist on having one so I could look in every so often. It might direct the nanny not to get complacent too. I would always inform the nanny that I had one rather than spying on them.

Anti Nanny Cam said...

In regards to the audio recording, in most states it is illegal without consent from the nanny. I started a trial period with a job and later found out they were illegally recording audio. Personally, I am anti-nanny cam. I do not feel trusted when there is a nanny cam. I definitely understand parents wanting to check up on their kids, but if they brought them to a daycare they wouldn't get to see what they do during the day. And maybe that is why people prefer nannies, for some. I love kids and I love my job, but I need there to be some trust. Without trust, neither the nanny nor the family will ever have a good relationship.

Fiona- I totally understand wanting to know about their friends and family. I can see why many nannies would have a difficult time with that, but personally I would never put anything on Facebook I wouldn't want a boss to see. I would always be happy to accept the friend request of my boss if it meant them being able to fully trust me.

Anonymous said...

Does your boss want your FB page to follow you? If she's a great nanny her personal outside of work life isn't your concern. I have nothing to hide on my FB page however my life is mine and my employer is not on my page.

Anonymous said...

Nanny cam, no nanny cam doesn't matter to me. I am who I am and I love what I do. Nothing to hide here! Audio is illegal where I live so that's a no no. Bathroom definitely off limits. Just remember home isn't always where things happen. If someone has bad intentions and doesn't want to get caught they will be cautious and unless your kid is in the house 100% of the time with them then the cameras won't matter. Don't have false security in electronics. I say as a nanny have your friend pop in unannounced or you for that matter. See first hand how well I treat your children and feel comforted that way.

Nanny said...

As a nanny, I LOVE nanny cams! They are proof that I'm doing a fantastic job. Many parents have bought gifts and or cards just based on the footage. It allows them to see me interacting and loving their child. It also protects the nanny from unfounded allegations. I think we all need them as nannies. I don't see the fuss. We're being recorded everywhere we go now days

Unknown said...

No matter how great someone’s past may look their present can differ. There are numerous cases of abuse and worse from nannies who had clean background checks. Or from nannies who worked with the family for as much as a year prior to abusing the child/children.

Here is a link to the American Sociological Review about fatalities of children in care from 1985-2003. It is not an easy read but worth it.

Starting from this point I make my argument for using, always using, cameras in your house.

First of all hidden cameras should never be used! A hidden camera does not protect it only records and parents get to review abuse that has already happened. So if the reason you have a hidden camera is to protect your child please reconsider this approach.

Being informed about cameras and consenting to them is key to protection and to good management. It is never to soon to inform prospective nannies that you plan to use cameras. So start at the beginning and as part of the interview explain that you have cameras in the house. They record video and audio and that you use as a management tool. Then ask the nanny if they have any concerns or questions about this cameras and your usage. When you give the offer to the nanny also have a letter of consent signed as part of your intake paperwork.

Use the footage gathered from the cameras to manage and support your nanny. Check in from time to time while at work, web based cameras, after seeing interactions that you like make sure to comment and show your support to your nanny. Also your nanny can reference times and locations so that you can pull the video. This could be to highlight a dance party, first steps, and or for behavior issues.

This is the process that we use and my family and our nanny are much more able to support each other because of it.

AbsOfSteel said...

I've worked for families with very obvious cameras, including the one I'm in right as I type this. These are there for the security staff but I'm sure could be used to check up on nannies as well if necessary.

I don't even think about them. Honestly, if I want to be crazy, and dance, and pick a wedgie, I do it. I'm a normal person and normal people do silly and weird things all the time. If that's what you're worried about as a nanny, you should try not to stress about it. Unless you're clipping your toenails into the food or something gross like that, why would your employers care about your funny quirks?

I wouldn't like it if I asked a family if they had nanny cams, and they said they didn't, and then I found out later that they did, because I don't like being lied to. So I don't ask, and just assume that they do.

this_nick said...

"Even ending up in Baltimore" LOLOL! If that's not a fireable offense right there, I don't know what is!

My bosses friended me on Facebook, which I find convenient for helping keep them apprised of my wild weekend hijinx. I mean, not Baltimore-grade wild, but I try.

Amy said...

Some daycares certainly do have cameras. I can pull up the live feed to my sons daycare anytime I like.

Alice said...

I don't generally work positions (see: I don't generally ACCEPT positions) where there are cameras, or at least that I know of.

However, I'm much more inclined to work with a family if it's a camera that's tied to the cable network, and it's used to see kids.

I'm not abusing anyone's child, and some days I do have burn-out where I just kinda.. let them be kids and do my own thing for a while. I think it's important to allow a bit of time each day for this, since I'm sorry I'm not a toddler and therefore don't have such a short attention span it does get tiring at times to constantly keep up mentally. Lol.

If I found out a family was illegally recording audio, I'd be mad. If I found a hidden camera, I'd be mad. I'd likely terminate my work with both, just because I'd feel mistrust from then on, honestly, and I don't enjoy working with families I cannot trust.

Anonymous said...

I've have worked with the same family for 2 years now. In the interview process I never asked if they had a camera bt as time went on I suspected they did and even mentioned it at one point . They admitted to having a camera weather or not it has audio I don't know. I found out they had hired nine different nannies for the same job. Some of them we're not a good fit and some where let go based on their poor choices recorded on the nannny cam. I became their full time nanny because we were a great fit and they liked what they saw on the nanny cam.
I honestly don't like the idea of being recorded but having a brief discussion about it helped. They said since I've become their primary nanny they very rarely if ever feel the need to utilize the camera. They said they would not leave me home with their only child if they didn't trust me completely. My response to them and to the camera was "It is your house and you have every right to know what goes on in it."
Recently they have added two more motion sensing cameras which r not hidden and do record audio. These are due to some vandalism going on in the neighborhood and more for safty then anything else. Again, I really don't like being recorded but I also have nothing to hid so there's really nothing for me to worry about.
There are bad nannies out there. If I were a mother concerned for the safty of my child I would have cameras.

Nanny said...

I have worked in homes with cameras. And honestly I don't like it. Here is my split opinion. I like hidden camera but not ones you know they are there. I do caught myself behaving different when I know there is a camera. I feel more shy and watch myself more critical. I am a wonderful nanny, who likes to play with children and that includes being silly, dancing funny, making faces and weird noises. But I don't want all of that on tape. I feel secure doing that with kids but I don't want the parents to see me like that. I think it is great to have a camera for safety, not so for spying. Means, once you see your nanny is great - move on. So, I am pro camera but keep it hidden.