♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Nanny spying, it’s become a huge business. Spy cams coming in all shapes and sizes.
What do you think?
I spy with my little eye…a nanny watching over my kids…
Being a single and currently childless person, I am on the fence regarding this new big business of spying. I simultaneously feel that it is an invasion of privacy and yet a good idea for the safety of your child. In days past, parents had to rely on their children being open enough to tell them, meaning they weren’t intimidated into not speaking up. That said, the camera can only witness something happening, not prevent it. I am more about prevention, but if you can’t prevent, it’s understandable to want the next best thing.
Children are virtually helpless. Being proactive with them can save a lot of hurt. For instance, why not make sure that your little one has access to a cell phone. If something comes up they can give you a ring. The babysitter doesn’t even need to know about it. Leave it in their room. But, how is this going to help an infant or toddler?
Nanny cams, as they have come to be called, come in some pretty weird shapes–such as teddy bears, or nick-knacks that blend into the shelf in which they’re placed. And, parents can place them everywhere. The level of surveillance is broad.
Being an author, I start to see how these devices can be abused. For instance, watching the house because you suspect your spouse. Taping the babysitter and unsuspected guests without consent for personal titillation (hey, you think that Nannies can be crazy? You should meet more people, because humanity at large is pretty messed up). Taping your children, leaving them no privacy–this borders child abuse and can be about sexual abuse.
Writing a couple of spy thrillers gives you a different perspective, as does advocating for survivors of abuse. That is one of the reasons that I am so on the fence. As much as I can see how these devices can be used for ill, I also see quite clearly how their intended purpose benefits the user.
Should a nanny be seen to abuse the child, that all the proactive measures in the world failed to protect the child, that camera caught the act and it can be ended immediately. Should babysitters/nannies expect privacy in another person’s home? Another proactive measure: disclose the taping and have them sign a consent form. Don’t tell them where the cameras are, just that there are cameras. This won’t spoil anything. For one, if the individual goes around looking, you know they can’t be trusted. Secondly, abusers cannot help themselves and a camera is not going to prevent them from abusing their target. Why is that? In a lot of cases, abusive individuals don’t regard their abusive behavior as a problem. There’s a little something wrong with the way they perceive the world.
Abuse comes in several forms, not just violence. A sitter can ignore your child and sit on the phone all night, or computer, leaving your child to basically care for themselves. Abuse can be verbal. They don’t physically have to lay a hand on the child(ren) to cross the line.
In the end, we need to learn to trust our instincts. We have them for this very reason. If you sense that something might be funny about the caregiver you are hiring to watch over your children—don’t hire them. Nothing anywhere says that you are required to offer the job to the person because you spoke to them in an interview. If your options are narrow, that is still no excuse to bring someone into your home that may be a danger to your children. You just might have to suck it up and not go out until you get somebody. That’s all part of parenting.
When a parent is in earnest about protecting their child and making sure they have invested in a good nanny/babysitter, I see no problem with these products or the use of them. If I baby sat for someone, I would assume they had one installed, and rightly so. However, how do we know how any of it is truly being used and to what purpose?
Check out what the other authors had to say about Nanny Cams, but before you go, check out PJ Fiala…
PJ Fiala is originally from Missouri. She moved to Wisconsin with her family when she was 13 years old, city kids learning to farm. The farm started out with 28 rescue cows (they were adopted from the Humane Society who took them from abusive circumstances). With all the hard work and the deep winters, Wisconsin was a hard sell until PJ met her husband. They have four children and three grand children. The pair enjoy riding their motorcycles, on which they meet new places and visit places new and old.
PJ comes from a long line of veterans: “My grandfather, father, brother, two of my sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.”
Stevie Turner says
Yes it’s a good idea to let the babysitter know there is a camera. Even if they don’t know where it is they cannot then accuse you of secretly filming them if they find out.
Captain Maiel says
definitely! The legality of any of it is really questionable.
Lela Markham says
You’re right. You should divulge. In Alaska, you don’t have to divulge if it’s on your property, but if it is on someone else’s property (like in the diaper bag at the day care center, secret taping is an invasion of privacy that can put you in jail. And most juries here are loath to accept secret tapes as evidence. Our state constitution is pretty clear on the subject of privacy … a benefit of becoming a state in 1959. If a judge rules a nanny cam film as “fruit of a poisonous tree” it doesn’t much matter what was caught on the film. The case will be tossed.
Our experience at the mental health center was that the knowledge that they were being taped caused the staff to be less friendly to clients. They did their jobs and only that. They were afraid of being judged if they did anything that wasn’t “regulation”. That change of culture directly led to a coworker being stabbed to death. A much more experienced staff member sensed something was up with the client and wanted to pursuit it, but was talked out of it by a third coworker because “it’s not in the procedure manual and we’re on tape now”. Would Genine still be alive if Len had pursued it? There’s no way to know for sure.
So, would the nanny be less inclined to be loving toward your child if she knew she was being taped? Would it just become a job that she’s afraid of losing if she does the slightest thing that you disagree with? That would be my question … and one I am just as glad not to have to answer.
PJ Fiala says
I agree with you all and divulging the camera(s) are present. However, if you are suspecting something devious, I would probably put things in place to protect my child while catching the suspect on camera to make sure prosecution could happen and hamper him/her ever being near children again.
I agree that a consent form is a good idea, and also that if you don’t have a good feeling about the person you shouldn’t hire them. Transparency is best in most situations and might be the best thing for everyone.