How Nannies & Au Pairs Monitor Children’s Internet Usage

No Privacy for Children Using Information Highway

We have been discussing issues of privacy for nannies and au pairs, the parents that employ in-home caregivers, and nanny placement agencies.

Today we will discuss the dangers of the information highway and how caregivers can ensure that the use of the Internet by children is safe and fruitful.

Due to the overriding concern for safety, children should have no expectation for privacy for any activity on the Internet. Safe use of the Internet is a concern with increasing instances of cyber bullying, hate sites, sexual predators, and other dangers associated to surfing the Web.

The temptation is to ban usage to kids and teens. But the reality is that the Internet is an integral tool for homework and for social interaction. Parents and caregivers must learn of the threats to the children and educate kids, tweens, and teens about safe surfing practices.


It is the parents’ responsibility to establish Internet accounts in their name, activate the appropriate filters, install safety and monitoring software, and block objectionable sites. Parents must review with their children, nannies, and au pairs the amount of time children are allowed to spend online, the type of sites they may visit, and how to use the computer in ways that are fun, safe, and ethical.

The computer should be placed in a public place in the house where children’s activity can be inspected. Adults should be alert for suspicious behavior by children such as quickly clicking off a site when an adult walks in the room. Nannies must know the children’s passwords, email addresses, and randomly check all correspondences.

3. DO NOT SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION: Caregivers must make sure the children are not divulging any personal or confidential information about their families on social networking sites without specific knowledge of the parents. Nannies should question children about all online activity and about any personal contacts made online.

Adults must be aware of any mood or behavioral changes experienced by children after being online. Caregivers should encourage children to discuss any disturbing events online.

5. BOOKMARK APPROPRIATE SITES: Nannies should encourage parents to bookmark sites that their children use frequently so that typos do not land children on an undesirable site.

6. BEWARE OF FALSE INFORMATION: Caregivers should make children aware that some sites contain false or misleading information, and that some sites are advertising made to appear as fact.

7. NEVER MEET ANYONE: Children should never agree to meet anyone met online without adult permission or without adult presence.

8. NO DOWNLOADING: They must not download any material, free or not, without the supervision of an adult.

9. NO POSTING PHOTOS: Children should not be allowed to upload any pictures of themselves or of their family without their parents’ permission.

10. CYBERBULLYING AND CYBERSTALKING: Some video games are violent and can lead to threats to children. Youngsters playing games on the computer cannot always distinguish between fantasy and reality. Nannies, au pairs, and parents must caution children about disputes arising from computer games. Nannies and au pairs should be alert to uncover instances of local cyberbullying and cyberstalking. The anonymity and ease of online communications can encourage users to email nasty and threatening remarks to someone who they would never disparage in person.

Even mild mannered children can become irate at someone online and then be tempted to get even with nasty, harsh threats. Kids seldom have the judgment to realize that what they perceive as deserved or as a prank call land them and the family in a lot of trouble. Counsel children to not react impulsively to remarks made online in anger.

Ample dangers exist when children enter the virtual worlds of web sites, instant messages, computer games, emails, cell phones, and emerging technologies.

Surfing the net is the foremost tool for accessing a world of knowledge and excitement and fun for children. As in every activity, nannies and au pairs help ensure the proper use and safety of the computer by children.


Have you had any issues with children using the Internet?


  1. I just wanted to tell everyone that the time Be the Best Nanny Monthly Guide published an online safety contract for nannies I read it. Immediately after seeing the contract I went into the family room where my charge was using the computer. The second I walked into the room he quickly got off the computer. That’s a sign you list as a clue that the child is visiting an objectionalbe website you don’t want him visiting. I couldn’t beleive it. Could this really be happening. So I went into the kitchen made him a snack. Started to carry the snack to him and yet again he quickly got off the computer. That night his step-father took your article and my story to heart and started blocking words, sites, and so on. They have gotten more security too as technology has advanced. Now I would recommend nannies check where the child was visiting after they use the computer, daily. The history is kept in the computer. You may find some scarey stuff.Thanks, Professional Nanny Linda in VA

  2. The children I care for accidentally saw video on YouTube with a lady undressing. Innocently they googled what they thought were funny words and one letter was wrong and they clicked on a terrible video. Luckily they came down to dinner saying something like “you should see the crazy video we just saw.” I calmly explained why they can no longer google words without an adult. One of the children started crying thinking he would be in big trouble. I assured him he won’t be in trouble because it only happened this time. If it ever happens again he’ll be in big trouble.I truly happened so quickly. All I was doing was heating up dinner and called them down from their bedrooms to eat.All the media talk shows and articles say to keep the computers out of their bedrooms. After this incident I completely agree. Not that children won’t see inappropriate videos or photos or be approached by pedophiles in the family room too, but it’s much easier for kids to hide inappropriate online behavior when they have computers in their bedrooms.Mindy, Nanny in Chicago

  3. I completely agree that nannies and au pairs must help parents monitor internet usage. But I don’t think parents should be monitoring nanny internet usage on the nanny’s or au pair’s personal computers.

  4. After watching so many television documentaries and talk shows I just prefer the children not use the Internet at all while I am working. Let their parents deal with that. But eventually we all have to learn to use the Internet, children are required to use it for research and resources for school. But it’s too unregulated and very scary. I just prefer they use it only when the parents are home, for now. Nanny for ten years in Boston area

  5. Our issue has been bullying and making threats online. Kids aren’t mature enough to understand that the comments online in emails or texts on cell phones are just has hurtful as if they are said to someone’s face. In fact kids feel safer because they don’t have to say what the feel comfortable writing to another kid’s face. My charge is getting bullied pretty bad. Best to monitor kids. Always listen to any mention of cyber bullying or threats. They are serious business. Adults get prosecuted.

  6. I caught the 8 year old son looking at porn pictures online in his bedroom. I obviously told the parents and the friend’s parents. Although they said they were taking it seriously the computer still remains in his bedroom. The parents told me there is a password not allowing him to run searches online but it’s just not true. To test the effectiveness of the password I tried it out when the son was in school and there was no need for passwords. Very frustrating. Very scarey.

  7. Same nanny here from above post. I should have written that I found the son AND HIS FRIENDS looking at the nude photos of women online. That’s the only reason I told the friend’s parents. I only told the parents of the boys that were doing this with my charge.

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