The use of nanny cams, personal surveillance cameras that are either hidden or installed in plain sight to record a nanny’s activities on the job (with or without audio), is a hotly debated topic.
Some parents feel it’s wise to use what technology has to offer to monitor kids’ safety. Others feel the use of a nanny cam—especially if you have a hidden nanny cam that is used to record a person without his or her knowledge—is a breach of privacy or, at the very least, uncomfortable for the person who is being watched. Whether you’re considering a nanny cam with audio, a hidden nanny cam, or any other option, here’s what you need to know.
Using a Nanny Cam is Legal With Some Exceptions
It is legal to make a video recording of anything that happens in your home, as long as you have a legitimate reason for doing it—such as monitoring your baby or caregiver. It doesn’t matter if the camera is hidden or not, though if you are recording your nanny you need to do it public areas of the house, such as the kitchen and living room, and not in private areas such as the bathroom or a live-in nanny’s bedroom.
However, in several states including California, it is illegal to make an audio recording without the knowledge and consent of the person being recorded. For this reason, many nanny cams do not record audio. If you do use a nanny cam with audio and find evidence of neglect or abuse, the tapes are inadmissible in court and you could be liable for breaking privacy laws.
Why do parents use a nanny cam to record their nanny’s interactions with their children? Many parents cite these benefits:
- Peace of Mind: Nanny cams offer a sense of security. They allow you to check in on your child whenever needed, providing peace of mind, especially when you’re not home.
- Child Safety: You can monitor your child’s safety, ensuring they are well-cared for and receiving the attention they need.
- Emergency Evidence: In case of accidents or unexpected situations, nanny cameras can capture crucial footage that can be invaluable for future reference and safety.
- Provides Connection: Remote viewing enables you to witness those precious moments with your child, even at work or running errands.
- Productive Work Environment: A nanny cam can help maintain focus and peace of mind for parents working from home.
The Cons of Using a Nanny Cam
With so many advantages to using a nanny cam, why debate their use? Some parents say it boils down to privacy and trust.
- Privacy Concerns: Nanny cams may infringe on the nanny’s privacy and potentially create trust issues if not used transparently or if a hidden nanny cam is involved.
- Legal Implications: States have different laws concerning privacy and recording. Be sure you know the laws and their intricacies in your state before installing a camera, especially a nanny cam with audio, to monitor your childcare provider.
- Trust and Relationship: Constant surveillance can strain the trust and relationship between parents and caregivers, potentially leading to discomfort and conflicts.
- Potentially Misleading: Snapshots of daily care can be taken out of context and may be difficult to interpret.
Financial and Installation Costs: Nanny cameras come with upfront costs, and the installation process can be complex, requiring time and resources.
“Whether or not you choose to use a nanny cam is up to you, but both you and your nanny need to be comfortable with your decision for the relationship to work,” advises Lynn Perkins, CEO of UrbanSitter.”