You’re on YouTube! Is that okay?

by cv harquail on May 13, 2009

In the post Help: My Au Pair is Blogging about My Family!, we’ve addressed the question of how folks feel about their au pairs blogging about the family and/or posting information about the family on Facebook or MySpace. Lots of host parents weighed in with their opinions.

We agreed that your family should have a policy about what you are comfortable with, anything ranging from “say & post whatever” to “say and post nothing”. The important thing is that you have a policy that you can ask your au pair to follow.

But what about YouTube?

A mom emailed and asked if we could consider YouTube as a separate kind of medium, maybe requiring its own guidelines.

There are a whole bunch of YouTube videos by AuPairs, some of which feature the family. Here’s one with super-cute host kids …

YouTube videos can be so much fun to make, and they are a great memento for au pairs (and their families).
I think this would be okay with me, as long as there were no names and addresses mentioned, and as long as I didn’t look either really chubby or really b&*%y. But do you think there is anything differnt about a YouTube video, as compared to a blog post or stuff on a MySpace page, that would change how you feel about having your family involved?

What’s your feeling about being on YouTube?


Franzi May 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm

i think what needs to be considered is the following
– can the video be traced to the family (by the names used, by the neighborhood being shown, by schools mentioned etc)
– what other videos did the AP upload? your video will show up among all her others as videos posted by user XYZ – i suggest she should use a separate neutrally named account
– what is the AP doing with the clips she is not using (the ones where you look fat, act b*&%*&y, basically those you never want to see the light of day)

i believe that you tube is a nice way for the AP to share her life with family, but because it adds a face to the host family (and especially the kids), i would use just as much caution as with a blog

Jillian May 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

For me, YouTube and blogs are the same. Once something has been published on the internet it’s there forever. I’m not thrilled about any pictures or videos of my kids being online simply because you don’t know who’s viewing them. Franzi’s #1 bullet point is REALLY important: can the video be traced to the family (by the names used, by the neighborhood being shown, by schools mentioned etc). The internet can be a dangerous place and I am as concerned for my AP as I am for my children regarding pictures, videos, and information being posted.

I would say that if your AP really wants to have material online she should use a private blog. Here’s a link to that explains how to create a website that only “approved” people can view:

West Coast Mom April 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Facebook and other Social Media

Hi all,

First, it looks like the blog post and comments have been deleted, since I “404’d it”. ;-) So this seems like the next best place for this question.

Does anybody have ideas for controlling references to family or kids on Facebook and other social media? I mean, ideas that go beyond having guidelines in your family handbook.

We are getting ready to interview for our second AP, and are seeking ways to avoid a situation that is going on with the first/current AP: she posts thing on FB about my kids and her job (things like “i hate this job” and “impossible day with spoiled kids” … nice, I know). And, btw, we know this because she “friended” her predecessor, with whom we maintain a close relationship.

This is actually two problems, use of internet/texting etc while on the job and the content associated with that use.

On the first issue, we have considered turning off the wifi during work hours, and we use an iPhone app to monitor texting (doesnt monitor content, just volume, so we can reasonably say that sending 25o texts in 2 hours seems excessive and probably not solely related to setting up playdates).

But it’s the second where I really struggle. I dont want to put my former care provider in the akward position of spying, and I know that when I ask the question directly, I cant count on getting an honest answer. SO has anybody considered or tried other options … like, making the AP friend HM or HD, the LCC? Or, having AP show you her friend feed periodically for spot checks?

Am I being paranoid? Over-reacting to my not-so-great first AP?

I welcome your thoughts.


aria April 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm

In My HF, the wifi is always unplugged during the day, just because (I think they’re scared of wifi waves going into the kids’ heads?) but I actually prefer it like that- it’s no secret, and I could plug it back in in two seconds, but just knowing it’s off sort of acts like a built in deterrent (even though I do have internet on my phone). Do you pay for her phone? If you do, just threaten to go through the next bill with a fine tooth comb to see how often she’s texting- that should curb it a little at least.

About the AP posting nasty stuff on her Facebook… yeah, ok, it’s a little immature, but who really cares? How many of her friends do you actually know? Like Anon said, you can’t MAKE her friend anyone, and it would seem pretty uptight if you tried, IMHO. Just try to get a nice one, so she’ll only post happy things about you next time. ;)

cv harquail April 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Hi WCM– Thanks for the alert about the broken link. Fixed now.

Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm

CV, frankly I don’t understand why you removed my comment. I was stating a fact. You can’t ‘make’ an au pair friend you on Facebook. Even if you did require them to be a friend, there’s nothing to stop them from putting you on limited profile view, or from hiding specific statuses like the ones West Coast Mom mentioned.

VA Au Pair April 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm

hi, i agree you can’t make her a friend anymore, and if i was you sit down with her and tell her this is how much the bill came too and i’m taking it off her next pay check. Good Luck

VA Au Pair April 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm

When i first came to the USA ,i went to new jersery on a 4 day orientation and they mentioned there that if it is okay with your family then you can post pic’s on FB and YOU TUBE ,but it sounds like it’s not. I would phone your LCC and ask for a meeting with her and the au pair and tell her how it bothers you and your family and you would like it to stop and be taken off the website. I’m sure she would understand.And also tell her about the sex offenders etc…. that should shock her. Good Luck

Soccer Mom April 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I friended my APs early in their year for the past few years, and this year I friended my AP a few weeks after we final matched. I sort of feel like if my future AP balked at accepting my FB friend request there is probably a reason and maybe we are not meant to match?

VA Au Pair April 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm

i don’t agree with you, why must i accept a friend request from my future host mom or present host family?, FB is your personal space and it’s where your friends accept you for who you are,now if i accept my host mom,it feels like you are invading my SPACE and JUDGEING me . I know alot of au pair friends that there host parents have said to them ,even my host parents have told me that ,they don’t want to see what i do in my spare time. I think the reason she didn’t accept is that you don’t mix business with pleasure.

Lee April 1, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I’m curious to know why host families want to be friends with their au pair on FB. We don’t – we believe her FB is her private space. I would assume it’s solely for the reason of checking up on the au pair?

PA au pair mom April 2, 2010 at 9:49 am

Our current AP friended us on FB when she was still in Sweden. She wanted to be able to see pictures of our family, share her vacation photos, etc. She also friended my SIL and several of our other friends since her arrival.

Our last AP was friends with us, until 3 months after her arrival when she started posting pictures of herself half-naked, drinking alcohol and with a different guy every weekend. We didn’t have access to her FB page but my SIL did and she was disgusted by what she posted there.

We don’t want to “check up” on our APs. If they friend us, fine. If not, fine as well.

HM in NV April 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm

The au pair program IS mixing ‘business with pleasure’ because you are living in the host family’s home. That’s what makes it very uniquely different from any other employer/employee arrangement. I would definitely be apprehensive if a future au pair was not willing to share her FB page.

Lee April 1, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I don’t even have my in-laws as my friends on FB. There are some things I simply don’t care for them to know about. An au pair needs to have her personal space. She is signing up to be your au pair – she is not signing up for you to be in every part of her life. If she was your child that would be one thing – but she’s not…she’s an adult just like you and therefore should be treated as such. If you’re going to trust her with your kids – show her respect by respecting her private space.

PA au pair mom April 2, 2010 at 9:51 am

I see what you’re saying Lee, but I trust her with my most prized asset….my kids. That alone makes what she does my business.

If she is out hanging out with loads of strange men and posting our address on facebook, then that puts our family, our home and most importantly OUR KIDS in danger.

I don’t make my APs friend me, but I appreciate when they request it. I don’t want to be their mother, but I am the mother to my children and I do whatever I need to to insure their safety.

aussiegirlaupair April 1, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I have been fb friends with all my host parents its never been an issue, I have had great relationships with my families and hope it continues when I started my next aupair year in June, I had photos of my last host kids on facebook with permission of the parents and they liked it, My profile is private including my photos and it is such a good and easy way to show everyone back and home what we have been up too. There is nothing on my page that I am embrassed about or need to hide, from my employers. I will again make sure it is ok before posting any photos.

When it comes to youtube, as much as the video was great! I would never post it on you tube, I did make a video for my host parents with two copies one for them and one for me which they loved, you tube you can’t control who sees it and would never have even thought to put it on there, I don’t even think I would like myself on there!

Soccer Mom April 2, 2010 at 12:14 am

I agree with aussiegirlaupair. I have been fb friends with my au pairs, and I still am, not because I don’t think they are adults, but because it is a way to connect both while they are here and after. I don’t think I am judging them, and if that is the extent of our relationship that is sad. They have permission to post pics of my kids and family to fb as long as they restrict access to only allow friends to see…and I really love seeing fun pictures of my kids posted by our au pair that I probably would not otherwise see if we weren’t fb friends. It probably goes back to the whole question of – is your au pair part of the family or isn’t she? I think she is, and I don’t use that to break the program rules and justify it. VA au pair says you don’t mix business with pleasure – I assume then her host family is business and fb is pleasure? I believe you get out of a relationship what you put into it and if you treat your hf as nosy and judging just because they try to connect and take an interest in your life, then you are probably passing on what could be a strong and lasting bond. I want to match with an au pair who is interested in a strong, open, close relationship with her hf, which is why it would concern me if an AP did not want to be fb friends and treated me as business while fb was pleasure.

HM in NV April 2, 2010 at 1:59 am

I couldn’t agree more. And while I totally agree with Lee in THEORY, that au pairs should be considered adults and treated as such, in my own experience, our APs who didn’t share their FB info with us because they had partying and ‘inappropriate’ pics and comments on there were just that – big partiers who we had issues with because of inappropriate behavior. Our APs who had no problem sharing that info with us were the mature ones who had nothing on FB that they would be embarrassed by. We treated them like adults because they behaved like adults. And in line with Soccer Mom’s point, those were the APs who were truly part of our family, and it also turned into a wonderful way to connect with them, especially after they returned home. And, maybe I’m being a bit old-fashioned here, but I just can’t imagine why anyone would want to post pictures and information that they would be embarrassed by.

AnnaAuPair April 2, 2010 at 3:44 am

My first HF didn’t have FB, so the question never came up. They did want me to show them what I loaded up on my (password requiring) Homepage, so I gave them the password.

With my second HF, my hostdad sent me pics via FB, because he thought that was easier – and it was. I befriended them right away. First, because it was easier to share pics and second because especially now that I’m home, it’s so much easier to stay in touch (9 h time difference is hard!!) and at least know a bit about what is going on in the other ones life.
Some of my friends asked me, why I befriended my HF and if I wasn’t afraid of them reading what I wrote. But frankly – if I HAD sth. on there that I didn’t want them to read, 1. sth. would be wrong and 2. I could easily block them from reading it.
I could understand that someone, who just has a really selected group of friends reading their FB, wouldn’t want someone else on there. But if you have a list that is 200 friends long, you already tell half the world what you are thinking, so why not your Hostparents??

sunnyvah April 2, 2010 at 7:37 am

Ok. I spent the last 15 min to get back on my fb wall to check what I had in it 2 yrs ago… hehe :D
I would have never befrinded my HP while I was there. My bad-HF I would never have wanted them as friends on FB . And my great-HF. I don´t know. I checked back and the only thing I wouldn´t have wanted them to see was a status update “worked WAY too long today”. But only because I didn´t want them to know. For me that was a very long day (almost 16hrs…) and it was very exhausting. BUT that happened ONCE and at that point I would have never wanted them to know, that it bothered me. Simply because we had a great relationship and I knew it was important and not changeable.
BUT I needed some place to complain. And on FB- there are my friends! (I do not befriend people I don´t want to read certain things!)

SOmetimes a day with your kids is just not fun. And sometimes you do things that really upset your AP. (And sometimes your AP is just a cranky little girl who really upsets you :D)
On that day you would find a post like “xo is just so annoyed by this weird american hostfamily” or “child behaves like a little brat.”
And I think thats ok, because if you have a healthy relationship would also have statuses like “HF is the best thing that could have happened to me” “will cry for days when she has to leave child behind”.

I don´t know if it´s always helpful to know what the AP/ HF thinks that moment.
I know my HM is on a mother board and I checked that page after I was a gone a few month, b/c I knew the new AP was reading the things my HM wrote there and she was really upset about it (their relationship wasn´t that good…). And I found one post about me (from the time I was there). It did upset me, b/c it was sth that I didn´t think of as a problem and I thought it makes me look bad. It influenced our relationship for a while. But I never checked that page again b/c we had/ have a great relationship and I get that my HM needed some place to vent about sth that bothered her. I don´t want to know the small things out of our daily living-together- period that upset her.
I don´t want my flatmate to know that I tell my friends that it upsets me when she´s not wiping the table ASAP after eating there.
It´s just a small thing, that isn´t worth fighting over. Because we have a very good relationship and she doesn´t complain about my make up- powder on our sink in the bathroom. *guilty*
And an AP-HF- relationship is so unique and has enough possible problems. I don´t need them to be aware of a bad day with the kids. If it is a real problem: I´ll tell them!
Just give me a place to vent.

However: I think facebook is GREAT to stay in contact after your gone. My HF always knows when I´m having an exam/ going to travel and all the small stuff you can´t stay updated with just a 20 min phone talk every 3-4 weeks!
And see all the new pictures you don´t attach to an e-mail! (Think of all the nice comments you can add!)

Show the vid to the HF. I personally don´t want a vid about me on the internet, visible for EVERYONE. (Again: you can put it on FB and restrict who can see it!)
And surely I would tell someone to take it down, if i find one and don´t like it!

Sorry for my long post! Enjoy the easter week-end!

Aria April 2, 2010 at 11:38 am

Amazing! I agree with everything you said!

Hula Gal April 2, 2010 at 10:47 am

I think this discussion about Facebook really taps into each persons’ individual feelings about privacy and what constitutes a respectful relationship between the host parents and the au pair. For me, I would be very put off if my au pair refused to friend me and my husband on facebook. Our current au pair friended us without hesitation. She is very social but if she is engaged in behavior that is innappropriate or shows bad judgement she isn’t broadcasting it on Facebook. I think there are two things that are important for me in an au pair that lives in my home and takes care of my children, that she speaks of us in a public forum in a respectful way (any “venting” is done in person with another friend, not broadcasted for all of her FB friends to see) and she engages in any really wild behavior with discretion (don’t broadcast it on Facebook). I was no angel when I was in college and in my 20’s but I kep my business private. That’s called maturity.

My 2 cents April 2, 2010 at 11:18 am

I don’t friend our au pairs and honestly don’t want them to friend me. Although I think we’ve had good relationships, I nevertheless like that division between employee and employer and, truth be told, want MY privacy on FB. I don’t want my au pair reading my more candid commentary with my friends no more than I want my employer reading them.

Nevertheless, I see how FB can be an excellent tool for screening out a sketchy au pair. For those of us that don’t necessarily want to be FB friends with our au pairs or candidates, I’d suggest you consider using your current au pair, or a friend’s au pair, who can more easily friend your candidate and can get access to the local FB page your au pair is using. For example, a friend of mine not a few weeks ago thought she had found the ideal candidate until her current au pair found some interesting photos and information on the candidate’s local FB page which my friend never would have found or been able to read on her own.

Anonymous April 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Set up two Facebook accounts with different privacy settings.
I have two resumes : one for corporate and one for non-profit.
I also have two phone numbers: one is for the general public and
is listed in the phonebook and the other is strictly private: no one has it excepr my husband and kids. With a ” public ” Facebook I can communicate with my aupair and she can send me pictures,etc. Whatever she puts on her private Facebook account is none of my business. She does not have access to my private account either. I also have three email addresses. I have a boss who looks over my shoulder at lunchtime to see who I am emailing on my own time. She’s just nosy , not malicious. But my private accounts are just none of her business. I do not friend my nieces and nephews because I do not want them to know too much about my private and business life.

Steff December 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I’m aware this topic is a little old already, but I still feel as though I could leave my comment about it. For starters, I’d like to say I’m not an Aupair quite yet, just in the process of matching with CC; but as for me, I would really, really love to be able to get pics and viddies of the kids I’m taking care of, not to post them everywhere in the net, but just so my family here in my country could meet them and see how well I’m doing there (I’m really hoping the very best of my experience in the US next year, so of course all the pictures and videos would plainly show off the kids and our big smiles hee hee ;)
So I really don’t think YouTube is that bad of a thing. I really would love and appreciate if my future host family let me use that site ;) Plus, YT videos can go in private where only people you want can see them so that’s a perk, right? ;=

Oh, and Facebook and Myspace, and those nasty comments, REALLY immature. Maybe I’m the one who’s a little different from her century ‘peers’ (I’m 19) but I don’t even got a FB account, so I dunno!
I’m really just hoping for a nice family soon enough, so thanks for this site btw! Really, really helpful and interesting!!! ;)

A Host Mom December 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Responding to Steff: Please discuss this with your host family and make sure you have their permission to post anything on the internet that involves their family. Perhaps a host family may be able to set up a password-protected website for those posts that can only be viewed by family and friends (I think Shutterfly has that capability). Personally, I would never give my au pair permission to post videos of my family on youtube. In fact, I tell my au pairs upfront that they do not have my permission to post anything about us on the internet and if they do, immediate rematch. For example, after my last au pair left, I found her blog on my personal computer that was very unflattering. She was lucky I found it after she left, because she would have been gone immediately.

Steff December 8, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I’m actually trying now to see this whole topic a little bit more from the hostparents eyes. It does makes sense, and I get it, so I guess I should stop thinking I’d actually be able to share pictures and videos and those kind of things online, but can I ask another question now? I mean, like if any other Hfamiles get to read this. Do we APs, get actually the chance to take pictures of us with the kids, and HPs too? Like not to post, but to have as a memory? Maybe to make murals or something like that in our bedrooms there?
Also, what about emails. Like, I don’t know, but I would really like for my mom for example, to see with whom I am there, the place I’m staying, my room I mean forexample, and things such. Would it be okay for you HPs if I send via my personal e-mail a couple of pictures to my family about my life there in the States from time to time??

Gianna December 8, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I don’t have any problem with traditional pictures or emails or journals and think it is a lovely idea to document your year. My issue is just with youtube and FB which are so public and widespread . The lack of privacy is what spooks me.
That’s all. Of course your mom wants to see as much of your life as possible while you are so far away – so would I !

MommyMia December 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I don’t have any problem, either, with APs taking photos – ours have shared some really wonderful ones they’ve taken of things they’ve done with the kids so we can see what we’ve missed out on sometimes. We also give copies of some of the photos we take to her, if she’d like, and have always given at least one copy of the studio portrait we take each year to our APs. The previous APs say they enjoy getting our photo holiday cards each year to see how the kids have grown in the years since they’ve been gone. I think it’s great when APs send photos home to their family, and have even had some who welcome the kids sometimes into their room while they’re Skyping with family and they all try to communicate – lots of smiles and the AP has to work really hard to do simultaneous translation back & forth! I’m with the other HPs here, though, who don’t want videos or photos of my kids on Facebook or YouTube without my permission, and our Handbook explicitly states this. I know that some of our APs have changed their privacy settings to exclude my access because they know I do check up on them and confront them if I find they’ve not followed our rules. Those are the ones who aren’t on our “nice” list anymore!

Taking a Computer Lunch December 9, 2010 at 8:18 am

We encourage APs taking pictures of themselves with the kids – my son has wonderful memories as a result of a gift of a traditional photograph in a frame. As a family, we take every AP to Sears for a formal portrait before they leave. We also have a formal portrait done of the kids. Both are given to the AP and both hang on our own walls. Not only is it a nice memento for us, but we recall each one because we see their faces every day.

Gianna December 9, 2010 at 9:28 am

TACL – what a fabulous idea re: the Sears photo ! What a wonderful keepsake.
Thank you for sharing that. I am thinking that a great aspect of this is that you don’t have to go to Sears at Christmastime for the photo, either. Anytime is great .

Gianna December 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm

No one is allowed to post pictures of my children on FB or on YouTube. Sorry. I have been the victim of a blog once that the aupair did not even bother to hide it; although she didn’t say anything really awful it wasn’t pleasant to read it. I would not have done that to the aupair in question. I know that she is very young and immature.
She probably didn’t even think that I would find out about it. Or maybe she just didn’t care. This experience soured the relationship. The aupair was very surprized and hurt that I withdrew emotionally. But I had gone out of my way to be kind to her and it wasn’t pleasant to read hear about the sarcastic comments she made from others . I never felt comfortable with her again.

azmom December 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

We okay it but no indication is allowed as to names, location, etc. Our city is large enough… anyway, our AP left and went to a new family and her FB shows their city streets (as in photos of the corner), of their house (with house #) and she took a photo of the car’s license plate! No photos of the kids (yet?)… That to me, even if the family says no to their kids on the internet, is just way cross any line. I’m wondering if I should tell my LCC to tell the new LCC to tell the new HF or just to let it be…

Euromom December 9, 2010 at 6:46 am

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – any and every AP who enters my house knows this rule and is made repeat it back to me several time.

When it comes to the internet – no pictures, no comments, no anything of me or my family, (including the children). There is no second chances with this rule.

On the other hand my AP skypes nearly every evening using a webcam and I get to see her family and they get to see us and we converse but that is the absolute line.

AP’s please read this and at the very least ask you HF if you may “share” pictures of them on the internet and respect their wishes if the answer is no. NO means no.

Steff December 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Wow, thank you so much all of you for the advice. Everything noted. I will certainly ask before doing anything, and probably I would end up “documenting” my year in the States in a more traditional way as…I dunno, maybe some pretty cool scrapbooks. I bet thatd be fun!
Thanks so much to everyone who replied to the question, and really, this site is an amazing place to learn all those little things you really shouldn’t do as an AU Pair.
And by the way, that family portrait thingy with the kids, and the parents also, sounds like quite an idea. I sure would loooove to get one of those by the end of my year.
Thank you so much again, and well…I guess I will asking before doing anything regarding the kids and families privacy. Thanks ;)

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