1. Parenting

The Pros and Cons of Using a Nanny Cam

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Nanny helping with homework
Dejan Ristovski/Vetta/Getty Images

More parents are considering using hidden in-home surveillance devices to watch their child's caregiver. Counter Spy Shops, an international retail chain, reports a 25 percent increase in sales of these devices--often called "nanny cams,"--over the past five years. But is it a good idea...or an invasion of privacy? Before you make this decision, consider the following:

Pros of Using a Nanny Cam

There are a variety of cameras available on the market today. Most are wireless and can be hidden in almost any type of household item from a plant to a stuffed animal. And the prices vary too from about $100 for a basic camera offering remote computer access to more than $500 for digital systems, which can send video images live via computer or cell phone. Peace of mind and confidence in child care are reasons why some families opt to "spy" on their child's provider.

     

    Cons of Using a Nanny Cam

    Studies and polls show that many care providers are not necessarily against video taping of child-provider interaction, it's just that they want to know about it. It seems to be a matter of trust and feeling of deception.

     

    Other Uses For In-Home Surveillance

    Spy cams can be used for many other reasons than just child care. The device can be used while your home is being cleaned, for occasional in-home sitter services, and for security reasons. However, spy shops indicate the leading reason continues to be to monitor care providers.

       

      What Do Providers Think About Nanny Cams?

      Do providers support the use of video cameras? While media stories have focused on potential abuse and inattention being reasons parents should consider using a nanny cam, some sitters have indicated a camera can provide a positive connection with the families while at work. The rub seems to be when care providers are secretly taped. Some parents handle the situation by telling a potential care provider upfront that a nanny cam will be used so that they can feel comfortable and confident about their child's care. It's then up to the provider to accept or decline the position with a family who uses a nanny cam.

         

        Is It Legal To Use A Hidden Camera?

        It is indeed legal in all 50 states to use a hidden camera. However, it is illegal to record speech without a person's consent in the following 15 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennyslvania, and Washington.

           

          Are More Daycares Starting To Use Cameras?

          More daycare centers are installing cameras and even provide parents with the ability to spot check and watch their child while at work. Some facilities provide parents with a realtime access to watch happenings in their child's classroom via the internet. Parents report that while they often don't use it all the time, it's nice to be able to log in and check on their child whenever they desire.

             

            Where Can I Get One?

            General surveillance cameras are easily obtainable in most communities at electronic-type stores. However, higher-end models or ones that are disguised into stuffed animals, for example, are available at specialty-type stores or on the internet. Prices can vary greatly depending on your need and overall usage and expectation.

               

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