Who needs to snoop in an au pair’s room or flip through an au pair’s journal, when there is Facebook to tell us our au pair’s inner thoughts?
Not that any of us would intentionally snoop. (As we’ve already discussed, there are very few and very specific times when snooping seems even remotely reasonable.)
And, it’s not really snooping when an au pair posts information for anyone to see. When an au pair shares thoughts and feelings on Facebook and they’ve already ‘friended’ — that information is fair game.
Or is it?
Host Mom Julie asks:
I’ve got a question for the gang:
What do you think about looking at what comments your au pair puts on Facebook about the experience of living with you? If that information is all publicly viewable, so that anyone can see it?
For the record, I would never read her diary or invade her privacy in her room.
Our au pair often posts on Facebook her feelings about being with our family. She also posts on a Facebook page provided by our Au Pair program. Sometimes she writes in her native language, which I also speak. Although she is very shy in person, our au pair has posted extensively.
I recognize that these sites (especially the one for the au pair program) are for young au pairs venting and I do take comments with a grain of salt. When our au pair said a few things that were not positive about my children, it did not bother me because I know that complaining is part of what people do when working.
Now, we’re in rematch because although she is very nice, our situation is not working well for her. She’s explained that she wants to be in a home with just one child. We knew that out AP has been very homesick, and we’ve talked about it in her native language. However, we had no idea if the homesickness was getting better. And, we weren’t sure if she was still very unhappy. I really wanted to see how she was feeling about being here, and so I did check the site to see what she’s been saying. It’s how I learned that she really liked us, that she liked or didn’t like certain parts of staying with us and that she wanted to leave.
We are okay with the outcome (being in rematch) and there are no hard feelings. Still, I’m curious what the group thinks about looking for more information about your au pair’s experience, especially in a situation that’s respectful and not angry.
I’m wondering, because although these pages and this information is totally public, I still feel bad for knowing thoughts she didn’t tell us. Thanks!
[This may all be a moot point, now that Facebook has created the option of having an inner circle of friends that other friends won’t know they aren’t a part of. Now, your au pair (and your child, and yourself) can create a smaller network of epople who get the really honest stuff versus the self-presentational, audience-aware stuff. But still …]