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Parenting Advice

Nanny Cams: Yay Or Nay?

Written by Joanna Sommer

Photography by Ashley Koch, Photographed By Sarah Hebenstreit

It is quite an understatement to say that a new mom has a lot on her mind. Between changing diapers, struggling with the challenges of breastfeeding, and navigating life with a newborn on very little sleep, new mothers certainly have enough to worry about. These factors, in addition to a multitude of others, could be the reason why more and more mothers are opting to use nanny cams when they are unable to be home with their precious babies. While these personal surveillance systems have the ability to alert parents if their trusted caregiver is acting inappropriately, they may also be considered a breach of privacy, which can deter many from using them. As with most topics in the world of motherhood, there are two (or three, or four) sides to every argument. Nanny cams definitely aren’t for everyone, but does the spectrum begin and end with trusting the babysitter and spying on them? Below, are a few pros and cons of the secretive monitoring devices.

Pro: Nanny cams are affordable and easy to use
Thanks to recent technological advances, a simple Google search can help moms find a good quality cam for about the cost of a few months of diapers. With a variety of functions, nanny cams can record both sight and sound, can be operated using a smartphone, and can even use night vision technology. The cameras are small and discreet and can easily be hidden inside of a stuffed animal, camouflaged by a light fixture, or placed behind an object such as a houseplant or wall decoration. Some even double as a LCD alarm clock, helping moms keep track of not only the time, but also their could-be suspicious caregiver.

Con: Nanny cams are easy for you to use, but can also be easy to hack into
While new moms may find it helpful to keep an eye on their children, they may not relish the idea that the footage could be seen by people outside of the family. The news has recently reported instances where strangers have been spying on a sleeping child or playing eerie music. In some cases, the hacked nanny cam footage has even ended up online, with a former website showing footage from over 73,000 nanny cams and baby monitors from around the world.

Pro: The nanny cam could be (unfortunately) effective
Everyone likes to be trusting, especially when it comes to hiring outside providers to spend time in their home and with their loved ones. Unfortunately, sometimes your initial impressions can be wrong. Nanny cams have become more popular for parents, and for good reason: the private surveillance has detected cases of nanny abuse, neglect, and even theft. So, while moms may initially feel badly about recording the activities of their babysitter, it could ultimately prevent even worse situations from repeatedly happening.

Con: Potential legal complications
While nanny cams are legal to install in most places, there are several instances in which audio or video recordings are actually not permitted. In some states, without the consent of the person being recorded, the footage is not permitted to be used as evidence and may actually be grounds for the caretaker to sue their employees. Ironically, catching a nanny break the law may actually put the mom at odds with the legal system.

Pro: You can capture good moments, too
A mother’s kiddos are precious, and will only grow up once. While parents intend to keep a watchful eye on their growing loved ones, having recordings of their daily lives may end up being a valuable way to relive memories for years to come. Not only that, but if parents can check in on their little girl or guy while at work, it may put a smile on their face to catch a glimpse of those special milestones.

Con: The dangerous ethical nature of the entire operation
There may be better alternatives for ensuring that a baby receives adequate and proper care. By bringing surveillance equipment into the home, there is an implied level of distrust that could damage the relationship between the parents and the caregiver. The care provider will no doubt feel offended, embarrassed, and hurt to find that their abilities are being questioned and a way of surveillance was needed. Suspected caregiving issues may be better dealt with verbally, as opposed to relying on outside technology.

After working through the pros and cons, we want to hear from you. Is technological surveillance the right choice, or does the concept of spying on your caregiver put a pit in your stomach? What do you think? Yay or nay?

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