Nanny Cam - Using a Surveillance Camera
Are you thinking about hiring a nanny or au pair? Are you concerned about what happens when you're not home?
Surveillance devices have long been commonplace in places of employment. Why should it be any different if you employ a nanny or au pair to care for your children?
For parents, a nanny cam is simply a way of seeing how an au pair or nanny interacts with their children when they are not present. Most parents, however, don't know where to start when it comes to the purchase, installation and use of a nanny cam.
The International Nanny Association offers these helpful guidelines regarding cameras for supervisory purposes:
What are the laws regarding Nanny Cams?The International Nanny Association urges families to educate themselves on the laws relating to the use of surveillance cameras. The Federal Wire-Tapping Law of The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, 18 US Code, Section 2510-3126, 1987 Version, states that it is illegal to tape conversations without the knowledge and consent of the individual being taped. You should also be knowledgeable of your state regulations regarding the placement of cameras in the home.
Should a family disclose the use of a nanny camera to their au pair or nanny?
This is truly a personal choice.
On one hand, a caregiver is not going to abuse or neglect a child in view of a surveillance camera. They will simply do it where it can not be recorded. If you want to capture an un-staged view of your children's day, you can't disclose the use of the camera.
On the other hand, the International Nanny Association (INA) feels that t he purpose of a nanny camera should be to deter abuse or neglect and not to capture it. They strongly recommend that if you install hidden cameras, that you discusses the subject with your au pair or nanny. It is best if you do this before employment begins.
If your aupair or nanny has no objections to being videotaped during working hours, INA recommends that this be addressed in a written and signed contract. If your au pair or nanny is uncomfortable with the prospect, she should be able to quit or refuse the position without fear of negative consequences.
When choosing a Nanny Cam, does quality really matter?
Simply be aware of the differences in recording quality between lower and higher end cameras. Lower-end cameras do not film "real time" and movements may appear distorted.
Will my Nanny Cam capture proof of abuse or neglect?
If it is in view of the camera, the answer is yes. However, the International Nanny Association urges parents to follow their instincts. If you have a bad feeling about your au pair or nanny, don't wait, terminate her immediately.