Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tattletale Nanny Services, What's Your Opinion?

I’m sure many of you have heard about, visited, or even contributed to the ISawYourNanny blog. For those of you who haven’t heard, ISawYourNanny is a blog that takes reports from citizens who have witnessed good and bad nanny behavior. The blog has been getting a lot of press – and to be frank, the press likes it because it provides the “negative nanny” slant that certain media outlets can’t seem to get enough of.

But does it really work? Does the blog really do its job and protect children from the abusive or neglectful nanny? I don’t think so. How many parents are going to check the blog on a daily basis to see if their nanny has been reported? Is that really an efficient way to monitor nanny behavior? By posting on ISawYourNanny, a witness to an incident may feel like they "did" something. In reality, they have only vented their frustration. The chances of the family actually reading the blog post are pretty slim.

On the flip side, I was recently introduced to a woman who has come up with an innovative service targeting the same dilemma. The company is called, and it too has been attracting a lot of press. Unlike the blog that relies on the tireless will of the worried nanny employer, HowsMyNanny takes the work out of the “spying,” so to speak.

HowsMyNanny, modeled after the “How’s My Driving” bumper sticker on commercial vehicles, is a license plate that can be attached to a stroller. Each plate has an individual number. To report a good or bad nanny, all a witness has to do is visit the website and report the incident using the ID number. When an issue is reported, the family subscriber receives an e-mail with the information from the witness.

This approach has clear benefits. By registering on the site, parents can ensure that they’ll be notified if a report on their nanny comes in. In other words, it takes the guesswork out of witness reporting. In that way, the site avoids sensationalism, instead providing an outlet for direct, useful information.

So, what’s your opinion on these new trends in nanny surveillance? We’d like to know. Leave your comments below.