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Nannies, Social Media, and Family Privacy

Posted by Vanessa Vidal, FPC on Oct 8, 2013 4:00:00 PM

Welcome to the social media era, where our friends are called "contacts", our thoughts "comments" and experiences "posts" … 

Nannies, Social Media, and Family PrivacyThe pace of technological innovation and our cyber-connectedness has increased dramatically in recent years. At times we can be overwhelmed by our email, texts, Facebook posts, Tweets and more.   How many of us feel lost when we leave the house without our cell phone? Have found ourselves trying to expand a picture with our fingers on a lap top? Or think of an answer using emoticons?

Our children use technology; it is the world as they know it.  At a young age they learn to use a smart phone, a tablet, and they look up their favorite TV episodes on line instead of waiting to watch it on the TV.  At my home we have a simple rule: use one electronic devise at a time. We created this rule when my husband and I found our kids watching TV while playing on the iPad. Their answer: one is entertainment, the other, chatting with friend. Have you experienced this too?

I receive texts from my daughter when she is upstairs simply asking me a question. My answer: come and ask me in person, move!  I now wonder how much of this technology overload in the online world is affecting our human interactions to the real one.  Are our children losing their conversation skills, their most basic communication skills? 

Nannies use technology and interact on social media platforms just like everyone else.  This is a good thing.  I have heard stories from nannies about how they take pictures or videos of their charges and send them to mom and dad. The nanny is insuring that even though mom and dad are away, they don’t miss those special moments in their child’s life.  Some parents now receive a picture when their child loses their first tooth, a video of that new move at the ballet class or that goal at the soccer game – priceless!

These children are a very real part of the nanny’s life – and the temptation to post humorous stories or photos to share with the nanny’s friends is understandable. Where do you draw the line? Have you had a conversation with your nanny or with the parents about their feelings on this subject?

A discussion between the parents and the nanny on the acceptable use of social media by the nanny while on the job is vital, I believe, to avoid misunderstandings. I know parents and nannies have different sensibilities about this - there is no right or wrong feeling. However when the nanny and the family's feeling on the subject differ, and the family has not communitcated their rules, it can lead to conflict. Consider:

1. Photos - can the nanny post any photos? Answers may be from NONE at all, to none that show the child's face, to no big deal.

2. Geo-tagging - when the nanny is out with the child, how does the family feel about this information including location being shared on socail media.

3. Video chat - nannies often Face Time or Skype with each other, or simply with friends, in the course of a day. What is the family's feeling on this subject?

On the other hand, some families use technology for their nannies to check in and out work each day; they monitor the location where the nanny is to make sure she is where she says. Some even connect “nanny cams” to WiFi and check in on their homes several times a day. How many nannies have felt that some of these activities are an invasion of their privacy?

I believe technology is a good thing; but when have we gone too far?  What do you think?

Help!


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Vanessa Vidal, FPC
HomeWork Solutions, Inc.

Topics: nanny employment practices, time tracking, nanny

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