A nanny camera or nanny cam is a video camera discretely installed within common household objects such as toys, lamps, clocks or house plants.
HOW IT WORKS
The camera’s receiver can be connected to a recording device through a cable or a wireless transmitter. It can also be set up as a portable receiver-screen which can be carried around in the house by parents to keep an eye on the children in the different areas of the home or in their respective rooms. The nanny cam can also be hooked up to the Internet as a webcam with remote viewing capability.
HOW IT IS USED
Designed and introduced to discretely monitor the activities of childcaregivers or nannies, it is being actually used to record any activity inside the home and other locations,hence also broadly referred to as a spy or hidden camera. As such, the nanny cam is also used to catch thieves in action or to monitor the movements of contractors and housekeepers, among others. Interestingly, the nanny cam has also evolved to being a granny cam for older children to now check on their aging parents — to keep watch of the caregivers or to check on the seniors’ activities in the home while giving them some degree of independence still.
Unfortunately, a device which was conceptualized to protect the interests of children is now also being used to take undue advantage of them. Sexual predators may plant video cameras in school locker rooms, showers, fitting rooms and other facilities where children undress.
There are also reported cases of nanny cam hackings which means strangers, not just the parents, are watching the children and these outside parties could be illegally posting or streaming images of the children online. As a safety measure, the nanny cam devices could be registered with the provider companies which will send email alerts should any vulnerabilities be detected.
ARE THEY LEGAL?
It is legal across the U.S. to capture on video anything happening inside the home and therefore nanny cams are legal. It is recommended, though, to check state laws with regards audio recording. Under wiretapping laws, some states do not permit audio or video cum audio recordings without the consent of the party being audio recorded such as of the nanny.
It is also highly suggested to avoid placing the cameras in bathrooms or other places that can be considered as violating privacy.
EVIDENCE FROM NANNY CAMS
The courts are split on whether or not nanny cam recordings done without the knowledge of the nanny are admissible as evidence in child abuse or neglect cases. It is therefore advisable to check state laws or to consult with criminal defense attorneys to find out the full extent that the camera recordings can be usedin courts.
THE NANNY CAM REPORTS
Crimes against children and crimes in general are increasingly being caught through nanny or spy cam recordings. The news reports speak of the extent and diverseness of these cases.
Nanny Arrested After She Was Caught on Camera Burning a 3-Year-Old Girl (4/17/2015; People Magazine)
Nanny Cam Shows Graphic Cat Abuse (4/21/2015; KUTV news)
Man Charged in Nanny Cam Beating of NJ Woman Indicted on Attempted Murder Charges (2/1/2014; www.dailynews.com)
California Mother Catches Bad Nanny on Camera (10/15/2014; abcnews.go)
Nanny Cam Home Invasion Video Leads to Arrest (06/29/2013; www.csmonitor.com)
These and similar headlines drive the point that while nannies are hired to ideally stand as surrogates or substitutes of parents, things are not always as they should be and, sadly, there are abusive or negligent caregivers out there. Nanny or spy cams keep an eye on those tasked to keep an eye on the children and more.