Granny cam, also known as granny-cam and grannycam, is a popular term for a camera that is set up to monitor elderly people and the care they are receiving. The term usually refers to a hidden camera that records or provides a live feed of elderly people either in their own home or in a nursing home facility. Those installing a granny cam are often relatives of the elderly person, and install the camera to uncover neglect or elder abuse by caregivers. The installation of hidden cameras has been criticized, especially by some in the nursing home industry who believe hidden cameras are an invasion of privacy for staff and residents in nursing homes. Proponents of this technology instead consider the granny cam a necessary tool to prevent and discover abuse.
A granny cam is commonly a camcorder, meaning it is a video camera and video recorder in one. It is often connected to the Internet, enabling real-time monitoring from another location. Granny cams can also be self-contained cameras, meaning they are not connected to the Internet, and store recorded data on a memory card or similar device. So-called complete surveillance systems are sometimes used as granny cams, and usually include a digital video recorder, several cameras, and monitors.
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Similar to so called nanny cams that are used to monitor child care for small children, granny cams are used to monitor the care of vulnerable people who are sometimes unable to properly communicate with others. The laws and regulations applying to the use of granny cams vary in different jurisdictions. Visible cameras are often legal, if the elderly person and other people being recorded consent to their use, and some care facilities even use their own cameras to provide peace of mind and security for the elderly and their families.
Using a granny cam in areas where privacy can reasonably be expected, such as a bathroom and bedroom, is more problematic, especially if the camera is also hidden. In many places, installing hidden cameras without the consent of the individuals being recorded is illegal and considered an invasion of privacy. Cameras that record sound can be especially problematic, because of laws against illegal wiretapping and eavesdropping. In a nursing home environment, a hidden granny cam in a private room can be considered an invasion of the elderly person's and the staff's privacy. Getting consent from the elderly person being monitored, and from caregivers, is one way to avoid legal issues.