In today’s world, mobile is the number one way that tweens and teens connect with Social Media and each other. Given this fact, it is also a reality that those who babysit our children will likely bring their mobile device with them. Given all the research surrounding how the use of a mobile phone can distract a person from a given task, how can we parents ensure that our babysitter is not being distracted from the very important job of watching our kids, or misusing their mobile device in our homes, when we leave our house in their hands. Although accidents caused by mobile distracted babysitters are rare, they have happened: http://gawker.com/babysitter-distracted-by-facebook-lets-little-girl-drow-1059617103 So here are some thoughts to share with both the babysitter and their family:
#1) Ensure that the babysitter turns off their GPS and location sharing functions on all their Apps while babysitting at your home. There is no need to broadcast to the world where you and your family live.
#2) Ensure that the babysitter understands that under no circumstances is it appropriate to take or post pictures of your child or your home. It is important that they understand to respect your right to privacy on this issue.
#3) Do not allow the babysitter to use your families computer or Wi-Fi password. You want to ensure that you keep both your network and your operating system secure from any and all individuals outside your direct family. Remember that if the babysitter is using your Wi-Fi via their mobile, every and anything they will do, both good and bad, will be attributed to your IP address. If they wish to access the Internet or email/text messages they can utilize their own data plans. Once you get to know your babysitter and you are satisfied they are using their digital reasonably and appropriately while working, then you can give them access to your Wi-FI by creating a “visitor” online portal that they can use.
#4) Provide your phone number and email address should the babysitter need to connect with you via voice or texting Apps
#5) Explain to them to be mindful and focus on your child, rather than their mobile or tech, while the child is awake. If the child is a sleep, then like watching TV or doing homework, if chatting via mobile, ensure they are advised to take time to check up on your child, say every fifteen minutes, and not to wear ear earphones or buds while using their tech. Remember we will usually hear danger before we see it !!!
Although you have the right to deny the babysitter using any and all mobile tech in your home, I think in today’s world it is an unrealistic objective given that most will access once you have left the home. This is why I believe in setting clear “reasonable” boundaries, when it comes to babysitters using their technology while in our homes. I have found that most tween and teens will follow direction, you just need to clearly outline the do’s and dont’s when using their mobile devices while babysitting in your home. If you come across a babysitter that does not agree with any of the above noted guidelines, pick another one that does.
I hope this helps