Online safety tips for Babysitting
Our aim at BABYSITTERS NOW is to provide a safe and enjoyable meeting place where parents can find a Babysitter, Mother’s Help, Nanny or Au Pair that is ideally suited to the individual needs of their family.
The welfare and safety of all our members is extremely important to us, so we’ve prepared a list of safety tips that should help keep all of your experiences positive.
The truth is, the overwhelming majority of people you find on this site will be wonderful, caring and responsible. However, there are certain things you should always do to stay safe.
None of these tips replace your own common sense and intuition, so if you’re at all unsure about someone or something, it’s best to err on the side of safety.
And if you come across anything that feels unprofessional, intrusive or unrelated to childcare, please contact us immediately.
SAFETY TIPS FOR BABYSITTERS
- Face to face interview: Never employ a babysitter or accept a babysitting job without meeting the babysitter or the parent first. Consider taking a friend along to the initial meeting if you’re at all concerned.
- Referees and references: Always get references and always contact referees that are offered, both for babysitters AND parents.
- Contact details and surname: Never include your surname or contact details in your profile/Job Ad or your first contact message. In fact, do not give out these details until you are feeling comfortable with the member that you are communicating with (our messaging system will help in that regard).
- Correspondence: Keep all correspondence within our in-house messaging system - apart from being incredibly practical, it is a primary form of security. It means that you don’t have to give out personal contact details until you’re ready, and it also means that you benefit from our internal security protocols and practices.
- Attachments: Do not attach references or photos to your first contact messages. Don’t be hasty when introducing yourself, there’s no rush and it’s far more important to be safe.
- Straying off-topic: Any messages from any member that do not involve babysitting should be reported to us immediately.
- Keep it local: Avoid accepting jobs that are outside your local area.
- Home and away – Carers: You should be very careful about jobs that are not at the family home – e.g. at a hotel or B&B. You should definitely make sure that you have the face-to-face interview – and if the parents say this is impractical you should turn the job down. If you decide to go ahead, you should also contact the hotel/B&B agent/owner beforehand to check that the family has a booking and to register the fact that you are planning to be caring for the children at a specified time.
- Home and away – Parents: If you are traveling and you want babysitting at your accommodation, you should understand that Babysitters will be cautious about accepting jobs that aren’t in a family home. You should definitely check with your accommodation provider to find out what their protocols are for babysitting. If it is OK with them for you to arrange your own babysitting, you should still arrange to meet your babysitter face-to-face before confirming the job i.e. do not plan to arrive at your destination and have the babysitter that evening. For last minute arrangements you may just need to pay more for an agency to provide a babysitter.
- Payment: Babysitters should avoid any jobs mentioning money transfers or Western Union. All payment for casual jobs should be in cash, while regular jobs can be paid using online transfers once both parties feel confident.
- Referrals: We advise all members not to pass on the contact details of parents or babysitters to non-members. All enquiries should be directed through the BABYSITTERS NOW website.
- Scammers: Be aware that there are always international scammers trawling through the internet, pretending to be someone they are not. If you receive any messages where the parent or babysitter says they are out of the country please do not reply and forward the message to us immediately so we can verify their registration.
- Anti-virus protection: Keep your computer up to date with the latest anti-virus software.
- Reporting: If you come across a questionable profile or job or find inappropriate content on the site, please inform us immediately.
- Trust your instincts: As a sitter, never accept a position if you feel uncomfortable with the situation. Likewise, parents should feel extremely happy and confident in the choice of babysitter.
Most of this is common sense, but it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher. If you keep these practices in mind, with so many wonderful people on this site, you should find that your babysitting experiences will be easy, enjoyable... and safe.