Monday, November 15, 2010

The Nanny Cam Debate

We have a full-time nanny starting this week. I won't get into the sheer guilt I feel about having to leave my son with someone on a daily basis, I'll let you scroll down to my posting "The Nanny Guilt" to read more about that. But my wife is going back to work this week after 5 months of maternity leave, and this is just a fact of our life right now.

A few weeks ago when we hired our nanny, we started wondering how we know he will be alright with her. Background checks, driving checks, reference checks, those are all fine and necessary. But how do we really know what's going on when we're not there? Then we thought about a nanny cam.

You know what a nanny cam is. They can be anywhere and look like anything. Hidden in clocks, teddy bears, even in a mirror! You can watch tape when you get home or live streaming from your computer or iPhone. It's all very easy. I've seen some horrifying stories in the news about parents who have caught their nannies abusing the kids all thanks to a nanny cam. But apparently not everyone feels so great about these little spy gadgets.

Right after we hired the nanny, my wife posted a question on Facebook. Very simply, she asked:

"What do you think of nanny cams?"

You would think that someone just asked about the pro-life/pro-choice issue or evolution vs. creationism, because the holy floodgates of hell opened up and she was chastised! This is quite the hot topic apparently. Some responses included:

"COMPLETELY NOT OKAY!!!! as a professional nanny not cool! If you can't trust u'r nanny then don't have them"

"If you don't trust the babysitter enough to have a camera on her while she is with your son, you definitely need a new nanny."

So I do you build trust? With my wife and I, trust was built over time. I saw how she was towards me on a day-to-day basis. With my job, I've built trust with my boss over time. She has seen how hard and competently I work on a day-to-day basis. What if you're not there on a day-to-day basis to see how someone works? What if a camera is the only way to build the trust that your child is in safe hands?

Please let me know your thoughts on "Nanny Cam-gate", I'd love to hear which side of the fence you're on. And please feel free to forward to your friends, all opinions are welcome.


  1. I built trust with my nanny by hiring her a few months into my maternity leave on a part time basis. I also go into the office late sometimes or come home early or work from home so I can see her interacting. She's not perfect but neither am I and we've been lucky to have her for 2 years now. I find myself way more critical of her now that I am on leave because I see what I would do - but her strengths include areas where I have none - housekeeping, crafts with the kids. Sometimes I dream about the perfect nanny but know that doesn't exist. I strongly say no nanny cam. Your nanny should be filling out daily sheets for you (if you email me I can send your ours) showing your child's activities during the day and you can request text photos/messages once a day to check in. She needs to find her groove too. Good luck!

  2. You might want to try out GotoCamera's free webcam software. GotoCamera is EASY to set up and easy to use. All you need is a webcam (a USB webcam such as those made by Logitech, Creative, etc, or even the webcam integrated into your netbook / notebook) and a Windows PC, and you’re ready to start. Once your camera is set up, you can turn on recording schedules, configure motion detection, share your camera with family, and access it from any browser, including your iPhone, so that you can remotely monitor your camera's recordings. You can watch over your children any time you wish. This is perfect for people who can't afford a nanny to watch over their kids when they're away from home. At less than $4 a month, it makes complete sense to me. Give it a shot, try their 1 week free trial and let me know how it goes :)