Au Pair and Nanny Privacy and Confidentiality Survey

Monthly Poll Results

In April, 2008, 596 people that took the Best Nanny Newsletter monthly poll at Five hundred and seven of the survey participants were nannies or au pairs, 38 were parents, and 37 were nanny agency staff or owners.

Below is just a small portion of the survey that applies to the discussion of privacy we have been discussing over the past two-weeks.

Do you approve of the use of nanny cams?

Julia, a nanny with more than 20-years experience from California said, “While I know it has become the norm, I really don’t think nanny cams are a good idea at all. I believe they give parents a false sense of security. If you don’t trust your nanny, fire her. Don’t wait until you happen to see it on a hidden video.”

Michelle Clark, a nanny and babysitter from Independence, Ohio, wrote, “I do approve, parents should be able to check on there children 24/7.”

Linda Cooper, a nanny working in Savannah, Georgia wrote, “If the parents want to see how I operate then that’s good. They can learn a lot from me.”

Alicia Torchia, President of Careful Care Givers LLC in New Jersey answered, “I approve as long as there is disclosure to the nanny. Parents unknowingly run the risk of losing a good nanny if a nanny finds that they are recording her without proper disclosure of using a nanny cam. Good nannies pride themselves on their moral character and could become insulted if they find a hidden camera and this certainly does not help develop trust.”

Melissa Doran, a nanny in Potomac Falls, Virginia said, “No. If the employer already suspects that the nanny or au pair is doing something wrong, then the employee should be fired right away.”

Alison Lang, from Orono, Minnesota, wrote, “Nanny cams are legal but I would feel though that trust has been broken if they do not tell me about a nanny cam being used.”

Sue Krzos, a nanny in Virginia answered, “No, if parents suspect something is wrong, they should not put their child in harms way just to capture it on film first.”

Letea M. Payne, a governess from Empire, Colorado wrote, “It’s your home, it’s your little-ones, do as you please.”

Lisa W., a nanny and household manager in Dutchess County, New York answered, “It doesn’t bother me. I’m confident I do my job well.”

How do you feel about parents using of global positioning systems (GPS) in cell phones or cars to track the nanny’s or au pair’s location?

Laurel McFarland, a professional nanny from Oklahoma explained, “I have no problem with parents using GPS technology to track the nanny’s location, as long as it is not used to track the nanny’s location on her time-off.”

Sarah Fekete, a nanny in Atlanta, Georgia said, “I think things like that are a little overboard. If you don’t trust your nanny on where she’s going, then maybe you need to sit down and talk with her, or find a new nanny.”

Myra Leffler, a newborn care specialist from Canton, South Dakota said, “I have their kids I don’t think it will hurt to know where I am. However, I think that it should be turned off when I am not working with their kids.”

Mimi Clark, a nanny from Washington, District of Columbia said, “My job is to make the parents feel confident that their child is well taken care of while they are at work. If parents need to track me using GPS, they can.”

Liz Dinkel, a nanny in Arizona answered, “It is a parents right to know where their children are.”

What recommendations do you have for parents and caregivers to ensure privacy, respect, and confidentiality between nannies, au pairs, and families?

Katherine Blonsky, from San Francisco, California said, “Ask for the location of private spaces, where cameras will not be filming. Tell parents you expect no cameras in bathrooms.”

Stephanie, a nanny in New Jersey answered, “Parents need to inform their caregivers about online safety and not to post photos of their children online. Most nannies don’t think there is any harm in sharing their charges photos, when if fact it can be a reason for parents to fire nannies. It is an invasion of privacy. They are not your kids.”

A parent from South Salem, New York wrote, “I have had a nanny in the past that would speak about our family and job to other parents. I was told immediately. She didn’t understand the concept of our privacy. Now, when I hire a nanny, I go over every aspect of the job, but also spend a great deal of time on privacy and confidentiality. I lay out the expectations (in detail), give examples, and reiterate that this is grounds for immediate termination. The point is to stress how important it is to you as a parent. If you do this correctly, your nanny will understand.”

MaryAnn a nanny in Michigan explained, “Have a contract and spell out what is and is not acceptable to say and do.”

Terri Carroll, a nanny and infant specialist from Ventura, California wrote, “In any other job, your boss can walk in at any time and see how you’re doing your job. When you’re caring for people’s most important and most precious ‘assets’ you shouldn’t expect privacy that you wouldn’t even get working as a carpenter or an accountant. A confidentiality clause in the work agreement is helpful, but won’t change a person who is prone to gossip anyway.”

Danielle D. a nanny in Raleigh, North Carolina explained, “I think that being a nanny is a more personal job than any corporate job. Although all parties involved have to establish and respect boundaries that make everyone comfortable, being a nanny is unlike any other type of job.”

Wendy Bauer, a nanny from Franklin, Wisconsin said, “You may become friends with the parents but you are still an employee. As with any job both the employee and employer need to keep personal information to themselves.”

Do you have any thoughts about the topic of privacy to add? Click “comments” below to respond.


  1. I never even thought about asking before sending cute photos of my charges to my parents and friends online. I have always sent my charge’s photos over the internet, but I only email them to my parents and best friends. Should I really have asked the parents first? I don’t want to get in trouble. Obviously I wouldn’t get fired because I didn’t know I was or wasn’t supposed to do that. Should I ask the parents now?Elise nanny in CT

  2. Elise, ask the parents. They won’t be mad because you clearly had no idea this was something worth asking about. Clearly your family and friends are safe but the reality is that there are huge risks once children’s photos get online. You aren’t the parent so it’s always best to ask the parents before sending photos online.I once stumbled across nanny cam/video monitoring hidden in the parents bedroom. Although I have always rationalized that it doesn’t matter if the family uses nanny cams because I certainly don’t abuse the children or steal from the home, once I stumbled upon them being used, I never felt good about it. I felt like the family didn’t trust me. I just hated finding them. I think parents really should just tell the nanny honestly “We do have nanny cams we hope that doesn’t insult you. We don’t monitor private spaces….” and so on. Because, stumbling upon them sucks!

  3. Yep, better to be safe then sorry Elise. Just ask if you can email their photos before doing it next time.Sarah from Wash DC

  4. Ask yourself this: How would you feel if a memo were circulated today in your company and it stated that the new policy is to monitor any and all common work areas with hidden cameras?No! I do not agree! Interview, screen, check references and find a very good, qualified candidate. A nanny or au pair has the right to know that they are being monitored by video surveillance.

  5. It is the parents’ right to video tape in their own home, as long as they follow the proper laws that don’t allow monitoring in bedrooms, bathrooms, and record sound in certain states, and so on. It’s ironic though, if parents are trying to catch pedophiles the criminals would be misbehaving in bedrooms and bathrooms, hmmm…proving again that it is better to eliminate the threat before allowing a pedophile access to your children or your home. I can see both sides of the coin. I really appreciate the intelligent and thoughtful comments by nannies with differening opinions. It is good to finally have our voices heard.Meridith, Nanny, San Diego area

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