You, your nanny cam, and the law
Nanny cameras don't have to be sinister. They can be a great safety tool for your nanny and children and you can use it to tune in at specific times to join in a party, for example. Just make sure you comply with the law.
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The nanny series

Many working parents choose to hire a nanny to care for their children while they’re away from the home. This involves high levels of trust, but sometimes a parent wants to see for themselves if all is well at home. 

A nanny camera is a great tool to use if you want to keep an eye on your home and kids while you’re out. 

It’s not as simple as that though. Here we provide you with the information you need to ensure that you can keep an eye on your home, legally. 

The use of cameras is strictly regulated

The use of nanny cams is governed by the Regulation of Interception of Communications and the Provision of Communication Related Information Act (RICA). The act upholds our Constitutional right to privacy. Therefore:

  • It is required that you seek the written consent of your nanny before you set up your camera(s). 
  • The best time to get this consent is to add it in the employment contract. If she has already signed a contract with you, this provision can be added as an addendum, and signed by both parties. 
  • In the case of a live-in nanny, you are not allowed to place cameras in her own private rooms such as her bedroom or bathroom.
  • It is also illegal to record in a room where a person may hold the expectancy of privacy, such as a bathroom or a room the nanny uses to change into her uniform.
  • If you want to use the camera footage as evidence in a labour hearing against your nanny, it will only be allowed if you can show that your nanny consented to being filmed beforehand.
  • If your nanny decides to lay a charge against you for filming her without her consent, a conviction may result in a fine or imprisonment.

If you suspect your nanny of some kind of wrongdoing, consider if you want the camera to stop or prevent the behaviour, or to catch her in the act, and note the legal implications of your choice as laid out by RICA.  

So many options

You are not required to tell the nanny exactly where the cameras are installed in your home. And a quick Google search reveals a large number of nanny cam options, from the usual obvious units to those as discreet as being disguised as a rock, a lightbulb or an air freshener canister. 

Nanny cams are also available in wireless, WiFi enabled, battery operated, portable options. They can be activated by movement, live stream footage to your PC or phone and record and save footage for later. 

If installing a unit isn’t possible immediately, put the advanced video and audio sensors of your phone or tablet to good use by installing an app which can turn an old phone or tablet into a camera instantly. 

Popular nanny cam apps

Alfred is a video monitor app that allows you to check on your home from your smart phone or tablet, wherever you are.

WardenCam turns your spare smart phone or tablet into a home surveillance camera that you can watch while you’re away.

Presence uses the video capabilities of your old iPhone to turn it into a security camera and motion detector. 

Introducing the nanny camera to your nanny

There are various ways to introduce your nanny to the idea of a nanny cam, and the one you choose will depend on your nanny and the relationship you have with her. 

  • If you are employing a new nanny, include the use of the camera as a condition of employment from day one.
  • Make it an interactive affair, where the camera is used as an extra communication tool. Encourage your nanny to let you know when something notable is happening in the home, so you can tune in and join in from afar. A play date, an impromptu dance party or a particularly fun art project can all be enjoyed via a live stream from your home to your desktop or mobile. 
  • Explain the camera is a safety tool to keep you updated on home security, to alert you if something dangerous is happening in the home, enabling you to keep nanny and kids safe.
  • Play down the use of the camera, explain that you do not sit watching her every move all day and that you might check in randomly through the day. 

The decision to install a nanny cam should be a considered one, but they are not necessarily only for surveillance and security. With the right attitude, you and your nanny can use the camera to great effect, allowing you as the parent to feel more connected and involved while you’re away from the home. 

Also read:

Have you installed or considered installing a nanny camera? If so, why? Are you totally opposed to the idea? Send your comments to chatback@parent24.com and we may publish them. If you'd like to remain anonymous, please tell us.

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