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Views on Nanny Cams - Disclosure, Legality and Ethics

Jul 25, 2008
Nanny cams have become so much a part of our culture. It will not come as a surprise to you if almost every parent you know who has a nanny, or who have hired nannies in the past 2 years, have installed nanny cams. Before you purchase and install your own hidden cameras (another term for nanny cameras), educate yourself on the disclosure issues, legality and ethics regarding the use of these spy gears.

Disclosure Decisions

There are no hard and fast rules on disclosures of the presence of nanny cams. You can choose to either keep mum about them or you can inform your prospective nanny about them.

However, it is highly recommended that you inform your prospective nanny about plans for installing hidden cameras around the house. A professional discussion about your reasons for the spy cameras - burglar security, special needs child, and peace of mind - can pave the way for understanding and empathy.

Your disclosure can even help you decide on the choice of nanny. Often, the refusal of a prospective nanny towards having the house monitored is a clear warning signal for hidden agenda. However, in the interest of fairness, you still have to ask the prospective nanny her reasons for refusal of nanny cams. You can weigh them against your need for surveillance.

If the nanny agrees to nanny cameras and you decide to hire her, then a written and signed agreement regarding videotapes must be drawn up. This will help to avoid sticky situations in the future.

Legality Issues

There are also no common laws for the use of hidden cameras to spy on your nanny. You have to consult your lawyer about the legality of using surveillance equipment around the house, especially when other people are videotaped.

However, one general rule does apply. You can videotape your nanny without running into legal trouble for as long as there is no audio involved. There is a federal law banning the taping of conversations without the knowledge and consent of the person being taped.

There is also a Supreme Court decision stating that videotaping the nanny in your own home, even without her knowledge, does not constitute invasion of privacy. However, be very sure that you keep off private bedrooms (especially her bedroom for a live-in nanny) and bathrooms.

Also remember that video footages from nanny cams are admissible evidence in litigation for child abuse. However, you need to diligently guard against your child being subjected to abuse or neglect; if you suspect that the nanny is abusing your child, then immediately terminate her services. The hassles of hiring a new nanny will be peanuts compared to seeing your child suffer at the hands of the old nanny should you fail to act as soon as possible.

Ethics Concerns

No argument about it, hidden cameras pose ethical questions. Even with spy gears in place, a bad nanny will only behave for a while, after which she can revert to her abusive and negligent ways. Surveillance cameras are not deterrent to criminal behavior and might even inspire criminal exhibitionists!

There is also the concern of living in a Big Brother type of environment. Would you really like to live in a house full of mistrust for the individual you entrust your precious child with?

Ultimately, your diligence in carefully choosing your nanny - from seeking only reputable agencies, checking references, background checks, and interviews - can help you avoid the thorny issues of nanny cams.
About the Author
For further information on issues about spy equipment like wireless nanny cams and where to buy a nanny spy camera visit Video-Surveillance-Guide.com now! Nanny cams have never looked better with them!
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