Trinity Mount Ministries

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Putting our children’s safety first:

Global Times

By Zhou Ping

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT 

A local radio station reported that one of the city's thousands of nannies, or ayi, called its hotline last week to confide her employment woes. The woman said that the family she works for has set up a camera in her bedroom in order to see how she takes care of their 17-month-old baby.
The father of the family works largely in the US, while the baby's mother is also out at work all day. And the camera has been specially set up so that the wife can track the ayi's movements on her mobile phone.
Although the ayi, surnamed Wu, initially knew that there were cameras in most rooms in the house, she said it was only after she took up the post that they then put one in her live-in bedroom, against her wishes.
On one occasion she manually turned off the camera, only to be sent a text message by her employer ordering her to switch it back on.

Wu naturally felt uncomfortable because she effectively had no privacy.
The family are definitely in the wrong for going back on their word not to install a camera in the ayi's room. Every employee, no matter what their job, has the right to privacy and the preservation of their dignity.
However, as a mother myself, I totally understand the parents' behavior and I think it's a good idea to set up such cameras in the home.
Sadly, there have been many news reports about nannies abusing children in their care. In a case reported last year, one mother in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province set up a camera without informing the nanny to try to find out why her son was so frightened of the woman. The mother was horrified to see that the ayi was slapping the child several times a day.
In another case, a nanny beat a crying baby so hard that the child lost consciousness.
Reading these stories it is unsurprising that families are keen to install cameras.
What I do think is that families need to be totally honest with nannies about cameras being used in the home.
In China today, it is not uncommon for both the husband and wife to work full time. In the past, new moms and dads could ask their own parents or even friends to take care of their child, but this is no longer an option for many people. First time grandparents, many of whom might still only be in their 50s, are also working themselves.
Added to this, many young couples are now working away from their hometown, and therefore away from their parents.
As an added precaution for the hiring of child carers, I think it's necessary for both nanny agencies and parents to check a nanny's working background carefully before hiring her.
This can be as simple as making phone calls to the woman's former employers. Nanny agencies should also take on responsibility for the thorough vetting and training of every person who they sign up. When these procedures are routine, we will hopefully stop reading the kind of aforementioned stories of abuse.

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