The most common interaction between parents and babysitters at the conclusion of a babysitting job goes something like this:
Parent: “How were the kids?”
Babysitter: “Oh they were great. Went to bed by 8 and ate most of their dinner.”
Parent: (Sigh of relief) “Oh, good! Thanks again for babysitting tonight.”
Babysitter: “Sure, anytime.”
Unless there was a particularly difficult situation with a child (anything involving hours of screaming, blood drawn, or notable illness), the babysitter is not likely to divulge everything that went on while the parents were away. Keep the conversation light, get paid, and go on on their way until next time. In keeping that delicate balance in the parent/babysitter relationship, it is best to keep some things unsaid as long as they fall under the categories of normal, mundane, or expected. It also goes without saying, this includes the fleeting (or not-so-fleeting) emotional responses to the times when yes – babysitting is really hard work.
Think Before You Speak
Never would you imaging the babysitter saying at the end of the night, “I think your children are demons, but the money is worth it.” Expect jaws to drop and that delicate parent/sitter relationship to crumble instantaneously beyond repair. Even babysitters, if they thought this, would never say it to a parent about to hand over a good sum of money for keeping their kids safe for a few hours. Or would they?
The Twitter Trap
The truth is some babysitters let it all out in the social media world. Do they believe the parents they are babysitting for live in a world exclusive to social networks? It appears. However, according to a recent eMarkerter report, 79% of Moms with children 18 or younger use social network sites monthly versus only 64% of internet users overall. So it is a good chance, if you are a babysitter and you post something on Twitter or Facebook, moms will see it.
Here is just a sample of recent tweets from babysitters, while (presumably) on the job. Names and profile pictures are not being shown, but it is not difficult to search twitter and find out who said the following – once a tweet is published, it is there forever.
Repercussions Of Social Media
As a mother of two, and founder of a social network connecting parents and trusted sitters, I am beyond appalled by the thoughtless and egregious manner in which some babysitters represent themselves online. I do not believe these people are bad (or even believe their own tweets and posts). I believe these few think there are no repercussions in the social media world, and the comment made in jest is worth the attention of their friends and followers. Have we not seen quite the contrary with online bullying? The consequences can be huge – going beyond our control to repair the damage done. When babysitters go on Twitter or Facebook to post something about babysitting, they need to think twice. If you can’t say it to the parent or would feel comfortable knowing they are readying your updates, don’t post!
Proactive Online Parenting
Parents, what can you do? The main objective is to be proactive. Tools like MarketMeSuite do all the work to monitor social networks for you. Find your babysitters on Twitter and Facebook. You do not necessarily have to follow them on Twitter or friend them on Facebook to read their posts. On Facebook, you can subscribe to their public updates, which will appear in your newsfeed. Within your MarketMeSuite dashboard, adjust your settings to receive tweets and posts from your babysitter on your smartphone while they are babysitting for you. If you see anything suspicious, address it immediately.
Key Take Away
This also goes beyond the borders of what is said. Babble recently revealed pictures posted by young women that were not in good judgement of representing themselves as responsible, trustworthy people. Pictures can go a long way in damaging your prospects of getting babysitting jobs, not to mention other jobs/careers, as has widely been reported. While it may not be fair to judge a person by a picture, our online profiles, posts, and tweets are windows into the brand we choose to build and represent ourselves online. A trusted babysitter is something every parent holds in high regard. We know you are not perfect, but we don’t want you to make it so blatantly obvious by posting something you will regret (we hope) online.