The 10 Best Nanny Cams
Do You Really Need Video Surveillance?
It’s easy to think you’re safe, that the area in which you’ve chosen to live is somehow protected from crime and violence, that the people you hire to come into your home and clean or care for your children have nothing but the best of intentions. Maybe you’re even right for thinking all this.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that all it takes is one bad day, one forgotten lock, one lapse in character judgment to put you and yours at tremendous risk. On the bright side, a good nanny cam can help deter criminal or negligent activity, as well as aid in the prosecution of any and all perpetrators thereof.
One of the reasons it’s so easy to assume that your children are safe in the hands of a paid caretaker is that data on incidents of caretaker abuse is very difficult to consolidate. Often, the caretakers themselves cover up the abuse before it ever becomes apparent to a guardian. Up until the turn of this last century, most such incidents, when prosecuted, were charges of domestic violence, and lacked the kind of specificity in identifying the perpetrators that would allow for quality data tracking.
Every once in a while, however, a story breaks that makes the problem of child abuse by a caretaker impossible to ignore. Louise Woodward, for example, an au pair in the Boston area, killed an 8-month-old baby in her charge in the late 90s. Hers was the famous baby shaking case that rocked the nation and much of the world.
Of course, even homeowners who don’t have children to protect can benefit from a good nanny cam. Housekeepers have often been stigmatized as potential thieves, but videotape doesn’t lie; if the party is guilty, there will be evidence, if not, he or she will be exonerated.
Some modern systems will also incorporate with larger home automation infrastructure, allowing you to check in on your domicile, set temperatures, and communicate with family members and pets, even when you’re away.
Nanny Old Cam Will Do
Choosing the right nanny cam for your home shouldn’t be as difficult as it might seem. There is a pretty wide variety of options on the market, but understanding what area you want to cover and what information you want to capture will give you a big advantage in selecting the perfect camera or cameras.
For example, let’s say your job is about to send you on a series of business trips that are going to leave your teenaged daughter at home, alone, for entire weekends. Given the pressures put on kids to buck rules and test boundaries, there’s a good chance that she’s going to throw a party. Ideally, this bash wouldn’t get any bigger than a few close friends chowing on pizza and taking in a classic horror film.
If you want to make sure that her party doesn’t escalate into anything that’ll end with a deputation of police officers carting half her high school class off to the drunk tank, you might want to put a deterrent in place.
There are camera systems on our list that are clearly visible to anyone in their purview. You set these up to be seen, and they act as a reminder to anyone in the home that they’re being watched. These models are also ideal for higher-crime areas, as crooks are usually smart enough to scout a house for cameras, and to smartly move on to the next one if they see a security system in place.
Visible deterrent nanny cams have one other important advantage over their hidden counterparts: better resolution. Most of the security cameras out there, regardless of their size, will tout resolution at either 720 or 1080p. Larger cameras have larger sensors and larger lenses, however, which means that their video quality–especially when capturing images in a dark room–is significantly better than that of a camera that’s meant to be hidden.
The larger class of nanny cams is also where you’re most likely to find additional features. These extra goodies will often be the weight that tips the scales toward one camera over another. Some nanny cams very easily connect to your WiFi and allow you to quickly check in on things at home. They may feature two-way communication features, temperature and humidity readouts, and more.
The primary advantage of a smaller camera is its discretion. If you suspect that a crime is already taking place, you can install one of these practically invisible cameras from a vantage point that captures a vulnerable area of your home. For example, if you’re worried that your housekeeper has been lifting jewelry, or that your nanny has been failing to powder your baby after changing their diaper, you can point your nanny cam at a pricey necklace left out on a table, or on the changing station you’ve built for your baby at home.
A Brief History Of The Nanny Cam
Long before the technology to create today’s class of nanny cam existed, imaging capabilities of this size and quality were the stuff of the movies. One might assume that these kinds of advancements lived exclusively in the domain of science fiction, but in both the real and imaginary worlds, they made their mark in international espionage.
Characters like James Bond and Ethan Hunt of the Mission Impossible series often had nearly invisible cameras hidden somewhere on their person to capture sensitive data, or to stay in visual communication with a handler. Hollywood also paved the way toward obtaining smaller camera technology in their filming applications, as TV shows like Candid Camera and Taxi Cab Confessions relied on discreet planted cameras for the majority of their coverage.
After a series of well-publicized child abuse cases at the hands of professional caretakers swept through the media in the late 1990s, the idea of the nanny cam took hold in the zeitgeist. Consumers could purchase any number of inconspicuous products that had cameras embedded somewhere inside them. By today’s standards, the image quality these tools provided was miserably poor, but the eventual convergence of cellular and photographic technologies ensured a steady increase in quality and decrease in size over the next decade.