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Would You Use a Nanny Cam?

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/25/2006 | Parenting
Youre a working mum with two children and have hired a nanny to help out. Just three weeks into the 12 month contract you notice that your toddler is shying away from the nanny and cries desperately for you when you leave for work.

No mommy, dont go! is the morning cry in your ears as you head out the door.

After a week of this non-cooperative behaviour you suspect that something might have occurred between the nanny and your child. Your sixth sense tells you that the situation does not feel right, so you purchase a nanny cam to help you investigate matters further.


WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?
One reason why host parents purchase a nanny cam is if they suspect the nanny is negligent in maintaining her duties. However the main reason is if they suspect abuse to be occurring.

The US government has allowed the use of nanny cams so all states of the US have made it legal to own and operate nanny cams. Although there are no restrictions on what is viewed from the cameras there are 15 US states that have made it illegal to record speech.

Hidden cameras have helped catch abusive nannies that would have otherwise continued to abuse or neglect children of the host family.

It is also notable that day care centers are installing cameras to provide parents with the ability to spot check their children from their work place over the internet or from their cell phone.

The use of the nanny cam isnt limited only to spying on the activities of your nanny. Other uses of the nanny cam are as general home security cameras while away on holidays or business. They are also commonly used for the days that the cleaners and pest control arrive to ensure that their work is carried out correctly.

Installing a nanny cam may cause mistrust if it is discovered, and your nanny may feel a sense of deception and mistrust. If this situation occurs then you need to be able to explain why the nanny cam was installed. This could lead to undue tension, whereas approaching the situation directly could be more beneficial to promoting trust and open communication.


HOW DOES A NANNY CAM WORK?
The nanny cam is able to record video on your VCR, TV, PC or onto digital video recorders. Nanny cams are usually motion activated to record only when people or objects are within view.

Some nanny cam systems can record from multiple locations, with some systems handling up to three cameras. The cameras that connect to your PC usually use a USB port, and the camera itself is driven by software that detects when motion is happening.

Some nanny cams are able to email you pictures or even send them to your cell phone. With these applications you have the flexibility to respond quickly if required, or just perform the occasional check up on your house or children while youre away.


WHAT RANGE IS AVAILABLE?
There is a wide range of nanny cams available on the market. Most are wireless and can be hidden, for example, in plants, stuffed toys or in clock radios. Prices vary from 100 to 500, depending on the features and abilities desired in the camera.


WOULD YOU USE A NANNY CAM?
Since a nanny cam is considered inexpensive for the information that it can provide, you will need to consider addressing issues directly with your nanny against the possibility of confrontation with her at a later date.

If you are unable to convince yourself that your children are receiving the proper treatment, then a nanny cam may be just what youre looking for.