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 hidden cameras that are 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, hidden cameras with night vision, a smart baby monitor, security cameras, or any other option, here’s what you need to know.
Are Nanny Cams Legal?
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 care provider. It doesn’t matter if the camera is hidden or not, though if you are recording your nanny you need to do it in 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 (some come with two-way audio) and find evidence of neglect or abuse, the tapes are inadmissible in court and you could be liable for breaking privacy laws.
“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.”