It happened so quickly I barely knew what happened. A new babysitter had arrived at the house and
my kids and I were showing her around. My daughter, age 5, was fascinated by
the babysitter's long blonde hair. Naturally, my kiddo started saying the
babysitter's hair reminded her of Elsa from "Frozen." Seconds later, my
daughter belted out a medley of the "Frozen" greatest hits. I won't lie. It was particularly adorable.
But what wasn't cute was when our babysitter broke out her
phone and started videotaping my daughter's impromptu performance. Before I
realized she was even taping it, the babysitter had already pressed send and
posted a video of my daughter to her own Facebook page.
A Darwinian panic set in and I felt immediately protective
of my daughter. My husband and I post
photos of our children on Facebook and Instagram, but they are our children.
The thought of a group of strangers liking or commenting on photos of my
children made me uncomfortable and angry. I didn't want my kid's images to be fodder on someone else's social
media . Truthfully, her videotaping my daughter and posting it without asking
felt like a violation. I immediately asked her to take the video down and then
I asked her to leave.
The incident got me thinking about childcare providers and
social media. My husband and I used plenty of babysitters in the past. If the sitter wanted to take a photo of one
of my children, she'd ask. And most of
our babysitters weren't on Facebook or Instagram, so I didn't need to worry
about where the photos ended up.
But I realized I needed to have a social media policy for
all my babysitters. And more
importantly, I needed to not be scared to broach the subject and let our
trusted babysitters know our family's policy.
If you don't have a social media policy for your
babysitters, you must. Here are the rules we ask our babysitters to follow.
1. Get Permission
Photos of the kids
should not be taken without permission from their parents.
2. Put Your Phone Away
Phones and cameras
should be put away during the workday unless used for an emergency or contacting with the children's parents. A
babysitter's job is to watch the children. There's really no reason for her
phone to be out and really no reason for her to be taking photos of the kids.
3. Keep My Kids Off Your Facebook
childcare provider should never share photos and videos of children they are
watching on the childcare provider's own social media. And if they feel the need, permission should
be granted from the parents.
4. Your Photos Are Just For You
photos taken by a nanny or babysitter are for their use only and should not be
shared with friends or relatives.
5. Respect Our Family's Privacy
are naturally protective of their personal information and protective of their own
children. It's disrespectful to post images of someone else's children online
without permission. You don't know where those photos are going to end up.
So if it never occurred to you to talk to
your babysitter about social media etiquette, now is the time. And if it's
occurred to you but you've been timid about bringing it up, remember that your
job is to protect your children. And that includes on the Internet.