How Does a Nanny Cam Work: Nanny Cam 101
For many working moms with busy schedules, turning to nannies or professional babysitters is the easiest way to care for their babies while they’re away.
However, the prevalent stories of nannies abusing or neglecting the kids they care for have put many mothers in a worried state over the safety of their babies.
So, it’s not surprising that using nanny cams to monitor the activities of nannies and the safety of children is becoming increasingly popular.
Despite ongoing conversations about the use of nanny cams as a violation of the babysitter's privacy, it’s crucial to reiterate that video surveillance provides some reassurance that the baby is not in harm's way.
If you’re considering using a nanny cam, you’re likely to ask, “How does a nanny cam work?” “Is it completely legal to use it?”
What Is a Nanny Cam?
A nanny cam is a video camera set up in a house to monitor the nanny or baby remotely.
You can install it in your child's room, the kitchen, or have multiple cameras placed at different locations around the house.
We asked moms who use nanny cams in their homes why they do so, many of them gave the following reasons:
1. Monitoring the Baby’s Safety
Virtually all office and school buildings have surveillance cameras these days, and the reason for that is simple: security.
Having a nanny cam will allow you to see your baby throughout the day, and observe if the baby's safety is compromised at any time.
2. Peace of Mind
Leaving your baby in the care of another person can be disturbing for many mothers, especially if the person is a new babysitter.
To avoid that anxiety at work, have a nanny cam set up in your house, and get live streaming of your baby and the nanny all day.
3. Monitoring the Nanny’s Activities
You definitely can’t tell how the babysitter treats your baby in your absence, and hearsay from neighbors can be unreliable.
With your child being too young to talk, the best way to keep an eye on your nanny is to have nanny cams set up in your house.
That way, you’d see if your babysitter neglects the kid to watch a TV show, spends more time on the phone, or any other inappropriate behavior.
4. Connection With Your Baby
For many mothers, nothing beats feeling connected to your baby and not missing important milestones in your baby’s growth.
Nanny cams let you see your baby whenever you want to, and with new technology, you can even speak to him or her.
Despite the apparent benefits of using a nanny cam, there are still lots of controversies surrounding its use.
Here are some reasons why many people argue against the use of nanny cams:
1. Perception of Lack of Trust
Setting up a nanny cam, especially the unexposed type, can give off the impression that you don’t trust the nanny with your child.
This can cause irreparable damage to your relationship with the babysitter.
That is a situation you might not want, especially if the babysitter is a perfect fit for the job.
The best way to avoid such a situation is to inform your nanny of the plan to install a camera.
2. Nanny Cams Are Limited and Sometimes Misleading
When you set up cameras in a particular location, they've got a specific area of coverage, and so, there’s only so much they can capture.
This limitation makes it difficult for you to see the big picture of what's happening at the scene, leading you to misconstrue specific scenarios when watching remotely.
For example, the camera could capture the baby bawling without showing the nanny a few meters away, preparing the baby's food.
3. You Could Be on the Wrong Side of the Law
Some states prohibit the use of cameras with audio recording, so using one could get you in trouble.
Nonetheless, a proper check of the local law regarding privacy and recording will provide clarity in that regard.
Is It Legal to Use Nanny Cams?
It’s legal to install a nanny camera in your home for monitoring the child’s nanny, and keeping an eye on your baby’s safety.
However, you’ll be breaking the video surveillance law if you put the camera in private areas like the bathroom and the nanny’s bedroom.
Also, some regulations in specific regions and states don't permit using cams with audio features without the babysitter’s prior consent.
If you live in a state that forbids using audio-enabled nanny cams, and you record a video of abuse with such a camera, the evidence will be inadmissible in court.
That said, you could also be liable for breaking the privacy laws of the state, so it's vital always to check in with the local authorities before purchasing one.
Hidden Nanny Cams or Exposed Nanny Cams?
Depending on whether you want your babysitter to be aware of the video surveillance or not, you can choose to go with a hidden cam or an exposed one.
Hidden Nanny Cams
Experts typically disguise hidden nanny cameras as other household items such as wall clocks, toys, or books to monitor the nanny.
In this case, the nanny is oblivious to the camera, which records their activities and relationship with the baby.
Exposed Nanny Cams
Exposed nanny cameras, on the other hand, come as indoor security cameras or baby monitors, and the nanny is usually aware of its presence in the house.
Experts install exposed cams on walls or place them on a table to supply live video feeds to parents who wish to monitor their baby’s state.
How Does a Nanny Cam Work?
A nanny cam is usually a wireless camera connected to your smartphone, tablet, or personal computer (PC) from which you can watch the live feed of what's happening in your house, even when you're millions of miles away.
The motion detection and auto-notification features of a nanny cam ensure that you don’t miss out on any important thing when you’re not actively looking at the live feed.
The motion detection feature alerts the camera to record once it senses motion in the scene and stops after a while or after the perceived motion stops.
With the auto-notification feature, you'll receive a notification of recorded footage via email, SMS, or PC.
These notifications usually have an embedded link to the camera's live feed, where you can check what's going on in the house.
Linking a Nanny Cam to Your Phone
Nanny cams get installed for the primary purpose of being able to monitor your nanny and child, no matter where you are.
Given the portability of mobile phones and for you to make the most out of the device, linking them to your nanny cam is a must.
To do so, you need have the cam’s associated app and both your nanny cam and your mobile device should be on the same network.
The good thing is that you can get mobile access to your cam’s live feed, whether there’s an internet connection or not.
Now that we’ve established the possibility of linking to your mobile device, follow these steps to get started:
- Install and open your nanny cam’s associated app on your phone.
- Scan the QR code that came with your package or enter the unique ID (UID), which you can find on a label at the bottom or side of the camera.
- Tap the cam linked to your mobile phone, and you should be able to see the live view.
- If you wish, you can set up additional features, like alerts frequency, and any other configuration you desire that’s compatible with the nanny cam model you own.
What Are the Features to Look for in a Nanny Cam?
Having answered the question, "How does a nanny cam work?", it's also vital to discuss features to consider when buying a nanny cam.
High Definition (HD) refers to the quality of images or videos. HD cameras deliver sharp images with well-defined details.
Nanny cams with audio capabilities allow you to listen to your babysitter and kid, but you've got to check with your local regulator if you're allowed to install cameras with audio.
3. Wireless Connectivity
The primary purpose of getting a nanny cam, for most moms, is to get a live stream of their kids and nannies while they’re away, and only a wireless cam can make that possible.
4. Power Source
Nanny cameras are either powered by rechargeable batteries or by an electric power supply, which guarantees uninterrupted recording.
Some nanny cams allow the use of SD memory cards for storing recorded videos.
If the SD card’s storage capacity is small, it fills up in no time.
The best option is getting a camera with a network video recorder (NVR) that allows you to store digital videos on a flash drive, disk drive, and other mass storage devices.
6. Mobile Device Compatibility
To guarantee 24/7 live feed of your home, it's essential to get a camera that allows you to do so from your Android device, iPhone, or iPad.
A nanny cam assures moms that their kids are not in danger and that their nannies are following laid-down instructions to the letter.
While the benefits of using nanny cams are enormous, some moms often use it for the wrong reasons, such as capturing their nanny's private activities.
The focus should be on using a nanny cam to deter any form of abuse or neglect from your babysitter or caregiver.
Should you get a nanny camera? If you’ve got a child that needs care, and you’re not always available to provide that, consider getting one.
Additionally, dropping-in on your babysitter from time to time is also another effective way to keep him or her in check.