Social Media Makes It A Lot Easier To Spy On the Sitter

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A friend of mine has a live-in nanny who is permitted to use the family computers. And frequently when she uses them, she logs into her social media sites … but not out. This leaves her open for some prime-time social media spying from the parents.

“I can’t help it,” my friend explained, somewhat meekly. “When I open up my laptop and up pops a Facebook update referencing my children.”

But that doesn’t quite explain perusing the nanny’s chat sessions on Facebook. Or it might. Again, they were there when she opened up her laptop. But what she found was a pleasant surprise. Her nanny is nice, but quiet. She doesn’t share how she’s feeling very often. But on Facebook, she told her friends how much she liked her job. She mentioned how appreciative she was that her employers had given her a paid vacation just a few weeks after starting the job. She even bragged to her friends about how cute the kids were. To one friend who asked how things were going, she explained that her job was easy and the the children were remarkably well behaved. “That’s no fun,” he replied, suggesting she give the kids some coke and have them run around. My friend is 99% sure that the friend was talking about soda, not the Los Angeles diet of choice.

Another friend used to peruse her nanny’s Facebook page — on the up and up — and found out some surprising things. The nanny would announce in her Facebook status that she was feeling down sometimes. My friend always tried to be nice to her nanny, but when she saw those updates, she’d try to be “super sensitive.” She’d call her husband weekly to announce what the latest mood shift was. His response was to suggest that she get off her Facebook page.

But the Facebook page had other interesting delights, too. For instance, “I saw pictures of her all dressed up, looking skanky, which was weird to see.”

See, this is how I developed my “ignorance is bliss” policy. I have only had two nannies and they have both been fantastic. I don’t want to see their glamour shots or their at-the-bar-with-jello shots. Now, I’m at least open to the possibility that our first nanny might have enjoyed her off hours in ways that I’m glad I didn’t know about. I don’t know. But I’m really glad that we didn’t become Facebook friends until after she left our employ. And, sure, I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that she’d had some charming pictures of our little ones looking all cute and hipstery when she took them on their daily outings. [tagbox tag=”nanny”]

With our current nanny, she doesn’t use a computer when she’s with us and I have never searched for her name on Facebook or Twitter. I’m happy to just see the wonderful way she takes care of our children and leave it at that. (I did once notice that one of our babysitters had signed into Pandora and I just let it keep playing until I realized I hated her music choices. That’s about as spy-o-rific as I get.)

Of course, another friend actually used social media to check in on her nanny and was so alarmed that she ended the relationship. Her nanny posted updates that indicated she really didn’t like the children. She referred to them as brats. She constantly talked about how she couldn’t wait to be done with work. At times, she had so many updates that the parents wondered how she had time to monitor the children at all. When they asked her about it, she explained she could post updates quite quickly and was just teasing about the children. They asked her to tone it down. She didn’t and they decided that — with the children expressing general dislike of the nanny to boot — it was a good sign to just let the nanny go.

Do you check in on your childcare providers using social media (or vice versa)? Has it helped or hurt your relationship with them? Weigh in below and in the comments section. We’d love to hear what you think!

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