Entries in Nanny Cam (1)


Nanny Cams: Parental Control or Big Brother?

David De Lossy/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- More than one million nannies or professional babysitters work in family homes in the United States, and recent reports of nannies who've treated their charges badly have triggered a growing demand for technology to watch caregivers' every move.

"We're noticing a lot more information is being shared...there's a website where it's possible to post information about nannies," Risa Goldberg, the co-founder of Big City Moms, one of the nation's largest new mom support groups. Goldberg says there's a growing interest among moms to monitor nannies online.

On one blog called I Saw Your Nanny -- which was founded by a former nanny -- moms, nannies, and even total strangers are invited to detail the exploits of nannies behaving badly around the nation. Photos of inattentive caregivers talking on cell phones or speaking harshly to their charges are posted online. Postings describe sitters leaving children unattended in grocery stores, or even slapping children.

But Denyse Kapelus, founder of the 25-year-old Professional Nannies Institute, is troubled by it all. She worries that the tattletale websites are the 21st century's version of Big Brother, and that it may all spin out of control. Kapelus says she does not excuse the actions of bad nannies, but worries about websites that enable people to anonymously post photos of nannies that can be taken out of context. She also worries that the privacy of the nannies' young charges is violated when the photos are posted.

I Saw Your Nanny reports that at least 12 nannies lost their jobs after parents became aware of items posted on the site, and the site hopes to start allowing people to upload videos of nannies in coming months.

Donna Ellenbogen, a social worker who specializes in counseling young mothers, says checking out tattletale nanny blogs is just one of the latest steps parents are taking to take control of their nannies. And with the proliferation of technology, Ellenbogen says she doesn't expect that to change anytime soon.

A growing number of Ellenbogen's clients are now tracking their nannies' movements during the day with GPS technology, she said. These mothers typically place their nannies on a family cell phone plan, and track the nanny through her cell phone, to ensure that nannies are where they say they are supposed to be -- classes, school pick-ups -- at different times of the day.

"It's giving them that sense of, 'I know what's going on,' or it's a false belief of, 'If I can't be there, this is the closest I can be to knowing what's going on,'" she said.

With GPS monitoring -- in addition to the hidden nanny cams that have been on the market for years -- parents have a dizzying array of options to monitor their kids' caregivers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio