As a nanny, childcare specialist or private educator, our chief mission is to protect and nurture the children we work with.
Understanding the ways in which our social media behaviors can impact our charges is paramount to maintaining a professional reputation within the industry. We recently had the honor of attending the INA’s annual conference, and one of our favorite sessions was from Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions and Louise Dunham from Placement Solutions, who both shared some excellent insights about professionalism in social media.
While each of us is highly committed to protecting and nurturing our charges, we may not be fully aware of how our activity on social media and within online chat communities can impact and even endanger our nanny kids. As caretakers, our natural instincts and thought-processes are not particularly aligned with that of a criminal, but to really protect our kids we do need to be extremely aware, street smart, and digitally savvy. Those that could potentially pose a threat, particularly to your high-profile nanny charges, will likely be seasoned criminals so to outsmart their tactics, we need to understand them.
Photos are one of the most common ways for criminals to identify high-profile targets for kidnapping. As a childcare provider, taking photos of your nanny kids, the home, the car, the environment, the school, the hotel, the vacation spot, etc. is something that should never be done without several qualifications.
First and foremost is consent, while creating a contract with your nanny family, discussing their preferences when it comes to taking photos is essential. Both parties need to agree in writing to respecting and actively protecting the privacy of all parties, both in online communities, chat rooms and nanny or mom boards, but also on personal social media platforms, with the specifics being completely dependent on each situation. Some families will require NDA’s and lately, mutual NDA’s are more common to protect the privacy of the family and the childcare provider. Photos, and whether or not they can be taken within the home or around the nanny kids will be something very specific to each contract, but here are some things to keep in mind as you assess whether or not you want to take photos on the job:
Most photos taken on digital devices have hackable geotag information that provides your location with frightening accuracy, to anyone capable of hacking on a fairly basic level. This means that a professional criminal could very easily track that adorable Facebook photo of your nanny kid sleeping in their crib right down to the exact room in the house where that nursery is located; isn’t that the most terrifying news of all time? This is why understanding technology and being digitally savvy is absolutely essential to effectively protecting your nanny charges.
As much as we all love to document our incredible nanny kids and all of the fantastic activities that we get to expose them to throughout our time together, their safety is the most important aspect of our job. If you do decide to take photos of your nanny kids you really need to have written consent in your contract with the family, and you need to do your due diligence to ensure that those photos do not endanger the child, or threaten the privacy of the nanny family.
You can turn off geotagging in pictures on your cell phone, tablet, or digital camera, and each specific make and model will have proprietary instructions for how to do that – easily discoverable with a quick google search. We strongly recommend that you take the time to research your digital documenting tools and how to minimize the ability of a criminal to use information from your photos to target your nanny kids.
Personal Privacy Settings
Another way to protect your nanny kids is to update the privacy settings on all of your personal social media platforms. When you are responsible for children, you’ve got the most vulnerable people depending on you to be diligent and proactive in protecting them. If you’re traveling with a high-profile family and posting photos of the hotel, beach, yoga studio, etc. you may be providing way too much information to absolute strangers.
Ask a good friend to unfriend you on Facebook and then let you see from their device what they’re able to access without requesting a friendship – you will likely be very surprised at the amount of your personal information that you’ve unintentionally made available to literally anyone. The amazing news is that you can go into your Facebook settings right now and shore up some of your privacy settings. We recommend going through each of your social media platforms in this manner, accessing your profile as a non-follower/friend and getting a sense of what information is public, then making changes in your privacy settings.
Moving forward, we hope that this information helps you have a greater understanding of the importance of becoming more digitally savvy as we care for children. For more incredible childcare resources, professional insights, and to learn from one of the most respected industry leaders, check out Newborn Care Solutions! We would also love to hear about your personal experiences, best practices, or tips that you may have in maintaining professionalism and protecting your nanny kids in social media.
For more information about us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – if you think you have what it takes to become an Adventure Nanny, we’d love to receive your application through our job board!
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