Can I Use My Webcam As a Nanny Cam?

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People who leave their children with in-home daycare professionals, also known as nannys, sometimes become suspicious that their nanny is mistreating the children. Older home security systems that transferred their images to VHS tape were sometimes used to catch the nanny in the act. Today people wonder if the inexpensive webcams being sold can be used as nanny cams.

What is a Nanny Cam?

  • The term "nanny cam" has come to represent any kind of video surveillance device that is used to spy on people that are not expecting it. When a clerk that works for a store starts their shift, they expect the store to be under video surveillance. However, that clerk may not know that there is also a surveillance camera being used to watch them as well. The clerk may be suspected of taking money from the cash register and the owners want to catch her in the act. The camera watching the clerk is a nanny cam. The purpose of a nanny cam is to capture wrong-doing on video and be able to use that video later to confront the person. The term originated with people using video surveillance to catch the nanny mistreating the children.

Webcams as Nanny Cams

  • Webcams can be used as nanny cams, and the evolving technology surrounding webcams makes them even better equipped to be nanny cams. A webcam can be wireless, which means it can be installed anywhere within range of a router and transmit images. The range is normally 300 feet. Microsoft points out that many webcams come with motion sensing software that will trigger the webcam to begin recording images as soon as it detects motion. Webcams can also be set to record images for pre-determined periods of time as well.

Equipment You Will Need

  • To turn a webcam into a nanny cam you will need a computer with Internet access, at least a 500 GB hard drive, a DVD burner drive, a wireless router hooked up to an Internet connection, a webcam and the software necessary to allow it to record. In most cases this software comes with the webcam. The camera broadcasts to an Internet address that can be easily accessed through any Internet browser. Designate a folder on your hard drive as the video recording folder and have the camera record to it. You can archive your surveillance video by burning it to DVD using the computer's DVD burning drive.

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