Daily Mail reported that a nanny in Staten Island was caught by a hidden camera as she hit a baby while she was trying to feed her. The mother of the 5-month-old girl became suspicious of the nanny and she installed a video camera inside their carbon monoxide detector that was synched up to a live feed.
Parents, have you ever been suspicious of your child care provider? Are you worried that they might be abusing your child or caring for them in a way that is not appropriate? If your answer is yes, you have probably already thought about possibly installing some kind of secret surveillance or 'nanny cam'.
Choosing to use a nanny cam in your home is a big decision and should be discussed at length. There could be possible repercussions surrounding your use of covert surveillance and depending on your state's laws, could affect how, when and where you’re allowed to spy on your nanny. Being aware of the various ethics and laws surrounding the use of nanny cams is very important.
The three things you need to consider when making the decision to use a nanny cam are video surveillance laws, speech laws, and the ethical issues.
Currently nanny cams are completely legal in all 50 states, so you don’t need to worry about prosecution, even if you decide to videotape your nanny without telling her. Still, it is illegal to videotape your nanny in areas of the home which are clearly private. Prosecution is a real possibility if you install a nanny cam in areas of the home such as the bathroom or your nanny’s private quarters.
While it’s not currently against the law to film a person secretly, some laws protect against speech, which could affect what you’re allowed to record with your nanny cam. It is illegal to tape a person’s speech in these states without first notifying the person beforehand. That means that in these states, it would be illegal if you used a nanny cam that records audio as well as video to spy on your nanny. Not only could you be prosecuted for the action, but any evidence against an abusive nanny might be inadmissible depending on the state’s policy on audio recordings.
Filming someone without their knowledge or consent brings you into risky territory when it comes to the employee-employer relationship established with your nanny. Knowing that you’ve secretly used a nanny cam could seriously damage the relationship between you and your nanny and ultimately affect the level of care given to your child. If you’re worried about the ethical issues, it’s perfectly okay and even effective to let your nanny know that you’ll be using a nanny cam as soon as it’s installed. This removes any ethical issues associated with filming, and knowing that you're watching could give your nanny a level of expectation for providing better care overall.