If you spend some time perusing the internet in search of an effective way to monitor your child and your home when you’re otherwise occupied, you’ll discover that people are very satisfied with nanny cams as an inexpensive, easy to use and versatile solution. They’re great at capturing everything that’s going on at the moment and notifying you in time to take action if need be.
Even though we’re in an age where many kinds of surveillance and intrusions into one’s privacy are starting to become ever more commonplace, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with what the law has to say about the use of such surveillance devices. Bottom line, are nanny cams legal? To get a clearer understanding of what you may and may not use a nanny cam for legally, continue reading.
Are Nanny Cameras Legal: For Video Surveillance Only
As a tool for video surveillance only, nanny cams are perfectly legal. Whichever state you live in, you can safely install a nanny cam in your home and operate it, provided it doesn’t record audio. You don’t even have to inform your child’s nanny or your elderly parents’ care taker that you’ve done this.
Just be sure to set the camera up inside a commonly-used part of the home like the child’s bedroom or a hallway. It is illegal and unethical to install a nanny cam in rooms that have private uses. The bathroom, shower and, if they happen to be living in the house full-time, the caretaker’s own bedroom are off limits.
While the law governing video surveillance is universal and precise, things aren’t as clear-cut when it comes to the recording of audio, specifically someone’s speech. According to US Code Title 18, Chapter 119, Section 2511, any and all audio recordings done for the purpose of surveillance are illegal unless the person you’re recording knows that you’re doing this and agrees to it. The law is currently being enforced by fifteen different states, so you should check and see whether yours happens to be one of them.
Although the person, whose speech you wish to record, can be OK with this, the smartest thing to do is to formally ask for his or her consent both in verbal and written form to avoid any misunderstandings or potential legal action on their part in the future.
The Ethical Concerns of Installing a Nanny Cam
Legal or not, nanny cams can be a point of contention from an ethical standpoint. It all starts with one simple question, “How much can I trust you to take care of my child?” and branches out from there. While it is true that there have been many reported cases of horrible child abuse, both physical and sexual in kind, proved only by the nanny cam footage, you can lessen your fears even before buying one with some preparation and a little common sense.
Before you even hire your nanny or caretaker, organize a thorough interview session with them and run a background check. This is a job like any other, and only a qualified candidate should be allowed near your charges. Ask them to provide a work history and do get in contact with the references they give you. Provided you aren’t too pressed for time, observe how they behave around your child or parent and how they approach their future responsibilities.
That alone needn’t be enough though. You still may want to buy a nanny cam to be on the safe side, but it is best when trust extends both ways. Inform the nanny that you have/will be getting a nanny cam and explain the reasoning behind your decision.
Be clear that the reason you are opting for a nanny cam isn’t necessarily to spy on her, but to check up on how the child is doing from time to time. Whatever your motive is, knowing that she is being monitored closely will help make sure that the nanny performs her duties more diligently, and as far as ethics are concerned, you don't have a problem anymore.
Not informing her of the cam can have negative repercussion if and when she does find out. Most people don’t take too kindly to being spied upon, and you shouldn’t be surprised if she quits because of this. Even worse, she might not quit, but start harboring a resentment against you which can then reflect on how she’s treating your child when not in view of the camera.