Using a Nanny Cam (7 pros and cons)

Deciding to install a nanny cam in your home can be a double-edged sword, as this is a controversial topic that most parents and caregivers have strong feelings about, positive and negative.

It’s understandable that a lot of parents want the option of clicking an icon on their phone or laptop and connecting to their children in real time to see how they’re faring during the day. Watching them doing homework at the kitchen table, or getting ready for bed, offers parents a lot of reassurance that they are well cared for, and sticking to a regular routine. But there are several issues you should address – with your nanny’s input – before making the decision to install surveillance cameras in your house.

We’ve outlined a few of them here for you, but a lot will depend on how you, and your nanny, view the very idea of video surveillance personally: is it a right, or an invasion of privacy? These suggestions will help you avoid ‘land mines’ when the topic arises, and it’s time to turn them on:

1. Be sure everyone is on board with your choice

If the cameras weren’t installed when you hired your nanny but you’ve now decided you want them, be sure to include her in the conversation. Make it perfectly clear this is not about not trusting her, it’s about being able to see the kids any time you want. Explain that, as a parent, it will make you feel better to actually see the children going about their day, rather than just speaking with them on the phone.

She’s a professional, and she’ll understand that your love of your child is your paramount concern, and you need to feel reassured about their contentment. Assure her that this choice in no way reflects on her care giving, or accuses her of dubious decisions in child care. You can even voice your parental guilt at being away a lot, if you feel it, and having a video connection to the children, that fosters contact throughout the day will ease that burden. Your nanny knows your schedule, and in all likelihood she will not only understand your decision, she’ll support it.

2. Make sure they are fully visible

Cameras placement should be discreet, of course, but they must also be plainly visible so everyone knows precisely where they are and what rooms can be monitored. And it goes without saying, do not put one in your nanny’s bedroom or bathroom; that is indeed a violation of her privacy, and against the law. Speaking of the law…

3. Consult state regulations and guidelines so you’re fully compliant

Nanny cams are legal in most states (with the exception of bathrooms) but audio recording is not as widely accepted in many of them. Just to be sure you don’t accidentally install a nanny cam that contravenes state laws, consult your local municipality or go online and do a little research on your state’s website.

4. Ensure your Wi Fi connection is secure

You don’t want anyone being able to hack into your Wi Fi to see who’s home at any given time of day, or even spy or your nanny and kids (unfortunately, that has happened,) so be sure your Internet connection is fully secure.  And be certain that only those who must have the password have access to it.

5. Keep the monitoring to a regular schedule, at least initially

While everyone gets used to the nanny cam, be sure you’re not checking on her and the children every other minute. Limit how much you watch them, so they don’t feel spied on. Remember, you didn’t install this as a way of catching your nanny “in the act” of contravening your parental rules. You installed it to increase your peace of mind as a parent, and you have every right to do that. But she is not a criminal of some kind, and you must be sure the nanny cam isn’t “weaponized” against her.

You’ve made the choice because it will comfort you, not because it’s a tool for evidence collecting. So if you see that one afternoon she let your child have ice cream not long before supper, don’t accuse her of anything. She’s a professional, and you don’t know why she made the choice to indulge the child that afternoon. Start asking, and it will lead you down a rabbit hole into second guessing her every move, and that will make everyone miserable. It’s only when dubious choices or actions start becoming chronic, or truly negative in some way, that the video footage should be used to corroborate your gut instinct that something is wrong at home.

Nanny cams can truly be a useful tool of our modern, technological age. They give parents the reassurance they need when they are away from home all day, or travelling on business for long stretches. But your nanny must be fully aware of your choice, where they’ve been installed, and that her private spaces are off limits to surveillance. Only then will she be fully on board and embrace the idea that you, as parents, simply want to be able to check on your child when you’re not home. This doesn’t have to be a difficult or combative issue, providing you, as her employer, broach the subject correctly, and don’t make her feel she is somehow lacking, and that you want to keep tabs on her – and the children – because you don’t trust her.

Of course, if you choose an Elite Nanny as your employee, trust is never an issue. Our nannies are fully screened, experienced and vetted, and they are a wonderful addition to your home. Having an Elite nanny means rarely having to check the nanny cam – that’s the level of professionalism our candidates bring to their positions. Contact us anytime for a confidential consultation, and let us help you find the perfect caregiver for your children.