Navigating Nannies And Technology: How To Keep Your Nanny Off Her Phone

Things have changed a lot since I was a nanny, and one of the biggest challenges I

see today that didn’t exist in generations past is navigating technology and

childcare. Not only is the constant presence of technology – smart phones, iPads,

video games, etc. – something we have to monitor with our children, it’s something

that needs to be considered when it comes to your nanny.

First and foremost, nannies who are on their phones all the time are putting

children in serious dangerous. I actually witnessed a child cross the street by

himself while a nanny was texting and she didn’t see the car coming that almost hit

the child. I think this is something that parents and babysitters/nannies alike have

to be very conscious of in today’s world. I also think it’s a good idea to practice what

you preach. If your children see you on the phone all the time, not making eye

contact, not paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment, then that is

what they are going to model as they grow up. We can’t expect our children – or

other who watch our children – to put down the screens when we aren’t willing to

do so ourselves.

When it comes to making sure your nanny isn’t texting, tweeting, Snapchatting and

Facebooking on the job, here’s what I recommend.

1) A Contract. I advocate all parents have written contracts with their nannies

because it establishes ground rules and expectations so that everyone is on

the same page. I definitely recommend putting in a line or two about social

media and cell phones in general. If you don’t want your children to be

posted about online, you need to explicitly state this in the contract.

Oftentimes, nannies will post photos when a child does something cute. Or,

maybe they are sending a Snapchat video to a friend. There are so many

different outlets where people are documenting their everyday lives in

today’s world that there are probably social media channels you don’t even

understand or know about. It’s best to outline from the beginning what you

are comfortable with and what you don’t want to happen. If you don’t want

your children to be posted about, make sure to set a black and white rule

from the beginning.

2) Set realistic expectations. It’s not realistic to tell your nanny she should never

be on her phone and then expect her to always be in constant contact with

you. If you are the type of person who wants to be able to send a text and find

out how the kids are or be able to call and give an update about your arrival

time, then you are also setting the expectation that your nanny has a phone

on her at all times. This is fine as long as you also communicate that your

children’s safety is of the utmost importance. Make sure to remind your

nanny you want her holding your kids’ hands when you cross the street, are

getting in and our of cabs, etc., and that in these situations you’d rather your

phone calls be ignored.

3) Monitor. If you happen to be on social networks, it’s not a bad idea to

occasionally check to make sure your nanny isn’t posting unwanted photos of

your kids. If you are at work or out at night and you see your nanny, who is

with your kids, posting status updates constantly, this is a major red flag.

Remind your nanny that you prefer she limit her phone time when she is

around your children. It’s like any other job in that you want her complete

attention on her job – which is keeping your children safe. Also listen for

your children’s feedback. If they make comments about the nanny always

being on her phone, this is something you should address immediately.

As with most things, the more clear and direct you are about rules and expectations,

the better things will go. Make sure you convey all of your privacy concerns in a

contract and remind your nanny that you prefer to have her off her phone as much

as possible for safety reasons.

5 replies
  1. Rich Pinsky
    Rich Pinsky says:

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  2. June
    June says:

    I was a sought-after nanny who worked for a top LA agency and made $30/hr when I finally moved on to a new career.

    Since 2010, at every single job, I was on my phone constantly — 75-90% of the time. I brought an external battery to work with me to charge my phone discreetly. Every single walk or trip to the park was spent either on a call or reading articles on my phone. The agency loved me. Parents loved me. Kids loved me (and I was extremely good with them) –but nannying was mind-numbingly boring. Good god was it boring and unstimulating. The days when the parents were home and I couldn’t be on my phone, I swear my brain atrophied.

    Here’s one tip for parents: friend your nanny on Facebook. Go to Messenger and click on her name and you can see when she was last “active.”


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  1. […] media. I wrote about this in my last post, but make sure to include any privacy stipulations you have when it comes to your children […]

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