Many of us have watched, stunned, as one of the popular prime-time news
magazines showed a tape of a nanny or babysitter abusing, neglecting,
or caring improperly for a child. We wonder how people so cruel or with
such a lack of common sense could be caring for little ones in the first
place. Yet there they are, dailyand some parents, alarmed by stories
of abusive caregivers, have resorted to spying in their own homes.
Using hidden cameras, also known as nanny cams, is a difficult
decision. Usually parents suspect wrong doing and that is why they decide
to buy these cameras to confirm or disprove their suspicions.
Hidden Nanny Cameras Legal?
It is generally legal to videotape nannies without their permission; however,
using cameras with audio can impose legal ramnifications since it may
fall under "eavsdropping" or "wiretapping". laws governing
use of a device with an audio component to tape a sitter without consent
vary from state to state. Check with your local laws to confirm.
We all have expectations of privacy in private places. But should we expect
privacy in the home of another? The answer is NO.
Parents and other proponents of nanny-cams argue that the installation
of a hidden camera in their own home is not an invasion of privacy.
The court has agreed. In State v. Diaz, 706 A.2d 264 (1998), the leading
case on this topic, the court ruled that a videotape made by a hidden
camera in the residence of the parents of the child was admissible as
evidence in the lawsuit against the nanny for assault and child endangerment.
The court decided that since there was an absence of state action, the
Constitution did not protect the nanny's privacy in someone else's house.
The court also held that a videotape without sound did not violate the
Wiretapping and Electronic
Surveillance Control Act, but furthermore, that sound was admissible
because the parents had consented to their child being taped.
States vary on this particular issue, but most agree that a videotaping
your nanny without her knowledge is perfectly legal so long as there is
no sound. Audiotaping without the nanny's consent is an issue upon which
the states are split.
There are a variety of reasons people choose home
surveillance. Many parents who are using a nanny service for the first
time want to make sure that their choice of a nanny is good. Many times
you will find out about a nanny's behavior in the first month or two.
The fact that ones child has been entrusted to someone you hardly know
can be a big leap of faith. Parents may be concerned about a sitters
everyday behavior such as smoking or cursing, or they may have greater
concerns of whether the caregiver is paying enough attention to the child,
or is physically or emotionally abusing the child.
I want to know when I leave and close that door whats going
on behind it. I want to know my child is safe and being nurtured, played
with, sang to and loved, says Erkus. I think the ethics go
right out the window when it comes to protecting our children. Caregivers
are paid to keep your kids safe and happy, not to get mad at your kids,
yell at them and hit them or put them in a swing all day and neglect them.
Nanny-Cams and our Privacy by Jessica Sann