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Should You Use Nanny Cameras?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 9 May 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Childcare Nanny Au Pair Babysitter

Leaving your child to be looked after by a childcare professional in your own home is naturally nerve-wracking for parents, not least if you’ve never left your child before and it’s your first time using childcare. But is it ethical or appropriate to consider using a nanny camera, to watch what goes on when you’re not at home?

Nannies, au pairs and babysitters are all common forms of Childcare Solutions for busy parents and tend to work from your home. Not surprisingly, it can be worrying to leave a stranger in your home looking after your child, however much the person may have been recommended or vetted by you.

Professional childcare providers, of course, have a duty of care and standards to maintain, but at the back of your mind you may never be quite sure what they do, or how they look after your child when you’re out of the house.

Nanny Cameras

In a bid to monitor nannies, au pairs or babysitters, some parents turn to nanny cameras. The cameras – aka video cameras – are secretly hidden in your home and monitor what goes on when you’re not there. In some cases, the pictures can be streamed live to a PC for you to watch the action as it happens, while in other cases the material is recorded.

Nanny cameras can help put your mind at rest that all is okay and in order when you’ve left your child in another person’s care. You can see that your child is getting fed or having naps at your recommended times, or that the nanny is doing the activities that she says she does.

But on rare occasions, a nanny camera can also reveal the worst and highlights less than savoury or acceptable behaviour. In these situations, the desire to confront them and reveal that you know the truth is likely to arise.

Are Nanny Cameras Acceptable?

There are ethical issues involved in using nanny cameras and before you rush out and fit one to every room, it’s wise to think carefully about what you’re doing. If the tables were turned and you were the child care professional, would you feel happy about having your every move watched?

If you install the cameras and tell the nanny, then some of the ethical issues are removed, as it is at least not a covert, spying mission. Using secret cameras is a risk and can prove damaging and, in cases where a secret camera is unintentionally discovered and a childcare professional is doing their job properly, then you could lose out on some valuable childcare for the sake of the curiosity of spying on someone.

In the majority of cases, childcare professionals will be doing a proper job – it’s only a few who give the job a bad name. When you interview someone for the position in the first place, there should be plenty of opportunities to vet them and their abilities and you can always give them a trial period if you’re not 100% sure. Plus, if you have any doubts from the outset, then it is worth trusting your instinct and gut feeling, as this can often be correct.

To sum up, nanny cameras may seem like the perfect way to monitor life at home with your nanny while you’re out and about, but it can be a veritable minefield. If this is an approach you’re thinking of using, give it careful thought and proceed with caution.

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