Is It Rude to Keep a Home Security Camera on When Guests Are Over?

Lizzie Post, president of one of the country’s top manners advising companies, explains the delicate nature of having a security camera filming while friends and family are at your house.

Have you recently purchased and installed a security camera inside your home? If so, you probably made the decision in an effort to upgrade your home’s security. Now it might be time to think about the proper etiquette when friends and family are over.

Lizzie Post, cohost of the Awesome Etiquette podcast, spoke with Time about this developing discussion. Post is also the president of the Emily Post Institute, which is considered America’s foremost manners advisers. When you have guests over your house, do you continue to keep the cameras running? Should you tell those in your home that they’re under surveillance? What’s the right answer?

“It’s certainly new territory, especially as home security cameras become easier to install,” Post said. “I think it will be very interesting to see what etiquette emerges in terms of do you tell people you have a camera or not, and do guests have a right to ask that it be turned off, if it’s not a security issue.”

Post isn’t talking about legal rights, however; merely etiquette. While plumbers or other people providing a service at your house won’t raise an eyebrow over the use of a security camera, friends and family — with whom there’s an implied level of trust — might be offended by the surveillance.

Here’s an excerpt from Time’s story:

When it comes to security cameras, Post says it’s a host’s responsibility to make sure guests feels comfortable within their home. “I’m always a fan of being open and honest and acknowledging things.” For instance, if the host casually acknowledges that there is a camera in the room by telling a story about it, that may be enough to provide an opening for a guest to say if they are uncomfortable.

But it’s also up to the guest to communicate any discomfort they have about being recorded. “Communicating it gently with a potential alternative or suggestion is really the way to go,” says Post. “Making a giant fuss about it and making demands is a sure way to damage a relationship.” So, for instance, if a person is camera-shy, they could suggest meeting up at a restaurant or a coffee shop instead of getting together at a home with a web security camera.

What would you do? Would you feel comfortable turning the camera off or keep it running since you bought it to monitor activity in your home in the first place?

Related: Comcast Hopes to ‘Disrupt the Home Security Market’ With Xfinity Home

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