Thursday, February 7, 2013
Should Nannies Insist On Use of Nanny Cams to Protect Themselves?
Yesterday we learned of another nanny had been arrested after slapping and shaking an infant was caught on video in Staten Island.
Nannies and au pairs don't want to be video taped while working and many in-home caregivers are insulted if parents install nanny cams. But video surveillance is common place in daycares, corporate businesses, and even department stores. And, when caregivers are arrested after parents and police see abuse of a child on video surveillance, like what was reported yesterday, it's easy to see why parents use nanny cams.
There are other technologies parents may use to track their caregivers as well. Global positioning systems (GPS) may be in the cars used by nannies to transport children. Employer supplied cell phones may also be used to locate the nannies. Using GPS systems to monitor where nannies and children go is legal.
Parents may also require nannies to be photographed and fingerprinted. A few may even ask nanny candidates to be screened for drugs.
Nannies often complain about the use of nanny cams but I wonder if it wouldn't be smart to insist on the use of nanny cams to protect ourselves from suspicion of abuse or theft? Wouldn't it be better if we had proof that when a baby trips and bruises himself at play or if the mother misplaces jewelry, that the proof were on video surveillance and the nanny wouldn't be suspect?
As long as the parents are upfront about use of nanny cams in public areas of their homes and never use nanny cams in personal areas such as the bathroom or caregiver's bedroom it might actually protect caregivers from suspicion.
But, the best defense against child endangerment is for parents to do conduct comprehensive interviews, run diligent background checks, criminal checks, and speak personally with references. The goal is to never have the need for nanny cams in the first place.
Even after conducting thorough interviews, background checks, and reference checks some parents may still feel uneasy or suspicious leaving their children alone at home with a new caregiver or worry about damages to their homes or theft of personal property. Whether nannies and au pairs like it or not, video surveillance is a part of our work place. Plus, the development of new technologies is something that we must accept.