Do You Text or Visit Facebook at Work?

Technology is Best When Invisible, But You are Best When Visible!

Last week while at the pool a local nanny was texting while her three-year old charge was swimming in the baby pool. The boy then ran to the bathroom, then to the snack bar, without the nanny realizing he had left the pool area. I witnessed an enraged lifeguard bring the child back to his nanny (still texting) and the pool manager not only asked the nanny and child to leave the pool, he called the parents to let them know the nanny wasn’t properly attending to their son.

Later in the day I spoke with the nanny. She said she was texting on Facebook and is not allowed to use her cell phone when working, except for emergencies.

I have joined Facebook groups for nannies too. It is an easy way to communicate and gain support from a large number of nannies that I might not otherwise know.

My biggest concern though is the number of nannies who comment continuously during the work day. Facebook comments can now appear on mobile phones making it easy to quickly comment back. But, some nannies don’t even go one hour without commenting during the work day! In fact, I think some seem to comment all day long, even while working.

The example above of the nanny and child at the pool proves how easy it is to access Facebook and to text, but neglect our charges, without realizing it.

Although relationships on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media can be educational and entertaining, they are usually shallow.
Our To-Do for August is too develop relationships outside the e-world and to seek deep and meaningful relationships. We ask nannies and au pairs to put down the phone and not look at it (or the computer screen) for one entire work day. Can you do it?
The blue screen and keyboard may improve surfing skills, but not social skills. You cannot provide quality childcare when texting friends or commenting on Facebook.
Enthusiasm for social media sites is not bad in itself, but connectivity should not be mistaken for real ffriendship or allow you to neglect your responsibilities. A social app should not equal social crap.

Get real! Technology is best when invisible, but you are best when visible. Don’t let social media distract you from your job or your true friends!

Can You Put Your Phone Down and Not Text or Visit Facebook for One Full Work Day?


  1. I think that being a nanny is a more personal job than any corporate job. While the baby is napping I put my cell phone on speaker and do dishes and make dinner while talking to friends while still working.

  2. When I did read what happened at the pool above, I did get angry. It is not the lifeguard's job to provide the childcare, and I support what the pool did totally. I NEVER TAKE MY EYES OF MY CHARGES AROUND WATER. (Not even for parents, well because I am in the water with them.) And while I myself have tons of downtime in my dy due to the nature of bosses work schedule and kids school schedule, it does amaze me that there are nannies who I know are supposed to be working online. And, I do even scowl at nannies on the playround who can't pocket their phones. One time one lost focus and her charge couldn't find her, I took the crying girl back to her and said hang it up now.Technology is a great convenience for nannies, I mean yes my image on my website has a cellphone and a laptop on it. BUT it represents work convenience. Like using it to reach my bosses, playdate parents, other nannies to coordinate a field trip to a zoo or park. And nannies can have downtime during the day when tasks are done, or while doing tasks while kids sleep.But there is a difference.Yes I think it would be cool to do this challenge for a day, a week, or a month. An idea I have is to get the agencies and associations on board and announce we are doing it. Wouldn't it be cool during nanny recognition week, say?

  3. Yep huge pet peeve of mine. I've noticed A LOT that many of the same nannies write during the work day on this blog and on your facebook page. I write before and after work and during my lunch when child is napping only during work day. I also first check the family's emails, have their laundry done, ironing done, and dinner made before ever checking out facebook at work. Texting I am more guilty of but not at the pool or driving or playground. Again most texting only when in car parked waiting for older kids to come out of school or activity. I never text while kids are awake and we are playing.

  4. I've noticed and thought about the same thing Steph (who wrote the article) we are on some nanny groups together and there are some nannies that comment all day long on Nanny Talk for example, then on other blogs and groups all day long. I go to work in an hour and you won't see me again until this evening. Of course during lunch I've commented on FB a few times too, but never when the kids are with me. Wouldn't you think it bad if you saw the housekeeper doing the same thing? I don't mind her taking a call from her husband for a few minutes but otherwise, unprofessional. I do text other nannies to confirm we made it to the pool, when are you coming, that sort of thing.

  5. Huge pet peeve when everyone else is chatting online all day and I don't get to until after 7pm and I feel like no one reads my comments since I'm not in the loops with all the nannies on Facebook all day.

  6. I've noticed this too and am reading on Facebook a lot of nannies trying to rationalize this, especially the women commenting all day long. I have off today so I'm not in that category today. I really like Debbie's point about only do things you wouldn't be embarrassed of the parents seeing you do. No way in H-ll that two of the nannies commenting constantly would want their employers to see them texting and commenting all day long on blogs and facebook. It's actually annoying, I'm wondering why they aren't working.

  7. I like Pat Cascio's point on FB that this is the biggest complaint she gets from parents (she's an agency owner) and # 1 reason parents fire nannies!

  8. I don't think it's a big deal. Obviously children's safety is number one, but if I'm pushing a sleeping kid in a stroller why can't I chat with a friend on my cell?

  9. Considering the nature of our job it's pretty mean of a parent to NOT let us use cell phones once in awhile at work. We are lonely, it's a long day, why not? Kids safety number one priority always! We deserve to have a social life too.

  10. First of all, the pool example is atrocious! Cell use when kids are around water, or while you are driving are two absolute nos. Being online and on your phone all day is also, obviously, not doing your job, if you are a nanny. Kids need to be given full attention and supervision.However, I would not have happy employers if I didn't use my cell during the day! My main use of my cell while at work is to keep in touch with MB, grandma, and to set up playdates. MB loves that I send her a couple of picture texts about each day, and that I am able to easily set up playdates with neighborhood nannies by text. My first cell phone was actually bought for me by my first nanny family, so that they could keep in touch with me throughout the day, and, to this day, the majority of my minutes and texts go to work related communication!That said, I do make the occasional personal text, check my facebook, etc. I would definitely be willing to give THAT up for a day or week. I only post on facebook during naps or children's school time, when all work chores are done. I don't think that this hinders my doing my job at all, and helps me stay sane. Not to mention that it would be very difficult to manage some of my personal business (insurance issues, for instance) if I could not make a personal call during the children's nap. I work 7:30-5:30 and my insurance company is only open/taking calls from 9-5. I do keep these things to a minimum, probably only making 3 personal calls a year while on the job, but to completely forbid personal calls/text is extreme. If a nanny can't use discretion in using her cell safely, then maybe she shouldn't be a nanny. Our first thought should always be for their safety.

  11. I text and make phone calls as needed, for example to set up playdates or to get in touch with my MB, and to talk to friends who are also nannies, but my MB sends nothing but texts and e-mails to me, so I have to check and have my phone on all day. But if I'm with the children and we are at the pool or beach or park, I usually just leave my phone in the car.

  12. I use the family's mac when baby is napping (as he is now) and I do check my blackberry during the day, especially if I get a message from my bosses or another nanny, or my family. Gotta love the special ringtones for certain groups!I don't text or talk if I'm at a pool or outside with kids, and I try not to talk while driving. Texting while driving here in GA is illegal. :-)The example of the nanny at the pool is an extreme case. IMO, that action was a firing offense, and I would support a parent who fired a nanny who was literally on the phone or computer ALL DAY LONG, or who sent texts while driving.However, a "normal" volume of calls/texts/emailing is fine, especially since a lot of the time the calls and texts and emails are from our employers!

  13. I love my family's I work for and only have the opportunity to work temporary assignments or off and on throughout the month but I cannot imagine being on the phone at all while watching little one's in or around a pool. Thankful the child was fine in the article above. I am SO in2 my charges I could not imagine not being IN the water with them. I do use my phone alarm system to keep me on task with feedings and nap times and text pics of my charges to their parents showing them what their kiddos are doing. I would only hope to receive pics of my kids enjoying their day as well if they were to stay with a nanny while I was at work. I use my laptop during some story times, (still a major supported of traditional books) but ebooks are fabulous and at children's books can be read by kid's themselves to your charges. Interactive songs are played while viewing pictures ad reading the words as well. Fun for everyone.I don't have much down time due to the business of my charges schedules, but when I do I am usually watching an infant's twitches and smiles while dreaming and resting in my arms or on my lap, or finding things that need touching up or dusting off in my bosses homes. I just tend to stay busy and use the bathroom after kiddo's are down for their naps. I'm not getting paid to facebook or text friends, watch tv or cruise online. Even when I have homework for college I never have more than 15-20 minutes to turn my brain on to studying so most of the time, I just save it for my midnight task. If I nannied a normal 8 hr. a day during the week and all my chores, tasks and work was done and my charges were off to school or napping (baby monitors are gifts from God in two story-homes) I would probably check my facebook acct., text a son or daughter to see how their day is going or actually get caught up on homework. I understand the desires of a Mother or Nanny to be social themselves with others of their age, kind or like-mindedness which does make for happier children and peaceful households. Being a Nanny in charge of the most precious cargo, rewards from God Himself and little one's dependent upon us for their protection, food, water, playtime, sleep, learning, pretending and comfort, I just don't see their being time for much socialization absent from interacting with our precious charges. It's why I am a Nanny in the first place! I LOVE my job and my family's. They always come first.

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