Jason Stephens | March 19, 2020 | Premises Liability
A parent’s desire to protect their child is intense. The thought of leaving your child with anyone, even a trusted nanny, can be difficult. Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence showing that some nannies neglect or even abuse the children in their care. This is where nanny cams come into play. Thankfully, it is legal to install a nanny cam in your home in Texas.
Children are at most risk of being abused or neglected by someone they know and trust. Caregivers at daycare centers, preschools, and other child care centers can be guilty of abuse and neglect. However, hiring a person to provide in-home child care does not mean that your child is safe from abuse.
A Texas nanny in Round Rock was arrested and accused of injuring a child when she was caught on a nanny cam slamming a two-year-old child onto a changing table. Another Texas nanny in Lake Jackson was arrested after being caught on camera assaulting a four-year-old boy. Incidents like these encourage parents to use nanny cams.
Can I Put a Nanny Cam in My Home in Taxes?
Are nanny cams legal in Texas? Yes, you can install a nanny cam in your home to videotape your nanny or babysitter. You are not required to notify the nanny or babysitter that you have installed the camera.
Several states prohibit placing cameras in places in which a person has a reasonable right to privacy. Therefore, you could have potential legal liability and criminal liability if you placed a nanny cam in a bathroom or a live-in nanny’s bedroom.
Texas is a One-Party Consent State for Audio Recordings
Another legal issue that can arise when parents install a nanny cam is whether a person’s conversation can be videotaped without that person’s consent. Most states, including Texas, have a one-party consent law.
Under the one-party consent law, only one party to a conversation needs to consent to the recording of the conversation. Because the parent is not in the home, there could be a question of whether one party to a conversation has consented.
There could be an argument that as the guardian of your child, you consent to record any conversation your child has with the nanny. However, that does not cover conversations the nanny may have with other individuals while in your home. For that reason, many nanny cameras only record video instead of video and audio.
In a two-party consent state, the nanny or babysitter would need to be informed that conversations were subject to being recorded. Failing to notify the other person in a two-party consent state could result in legal liability for the parents. Also, evidence obtained through illegal means would be inadmissible in a court proceeding.
You should always check the recording laws for your state before installing any recording devices in your home.
What Happens if You Break the Law Regarding Nanny Cameras?
If you record someone in violation of the law, you could face criminal charges. You could also face civil liability. The person who was recorded without his or her consent could file a lawsuit against you seeking damages.
Damages in a lawsuit regarding unlawful recording could include actual financial losses. Damages may also include compensation for emotional and mental distress.
Before you install a nanny camera in your home, review all Texas recording laws. If you have questions, consult with an attorney before proceeding. Getting legal advice from an attorney is one of the best ways to avoid legal problems.
Security Issues with Nanny Cameras
There is some question whether nanny cams and other in-home recording devices are secure. Several news stories highlight how these devices are subject to hacking. Hackers have taken over security cameras and other devices.
If a nanny cam streams live video over the internet, there is a chance that the video can be intercepted. Also, most nanny cams transmit the video and audio through a wireless system to a base in the home, such as a computer. These transmissions can also be hacked.
A nanny cam or other video device should have sophisticated security to prevent hacking. Enhanced password protection, two-step authorization, and signal scrambling are some of the basic features a parent should look for when shopping for a nanny cam.