Mrs Sidhu, 34, recounts her disbelief at the incident which happened just last week.
“I was unwell and had taken a sick leave, and wanted a cup of my favourite honey tea sold at Parkway Parade. I told my maid, who was on the home computer, to get some for me, while I rested at home. We give her some private time to chat with her family via Facebook messaging whenever she was free of household chores. She quickly left to run the errand and I decided to check my emails on the same computer.
When I opened the Safari browser, it landed on Sufiyah’s Facebook page. The first thing I saw was a picture of my house! The exterior of my home, with our door number, the street sign, and even our car parked outside (with license plate fully visible). I was completely shocked. Why was she posting pictures of my home on her Facebook page? This was not a safe move!
Little did I know that what I had just seen was just the beginning of a series of horrific findings. As I scrolled down, I saw posts of the inside of my home. She had taken selfies on my sofa, in my bathroom, and even in my kids’ study room. Sufiyah had also captured our collection of artifacts from our travels, which would be considered expensive and definitely tempting to the eye. Needless to say, I was fuming mad and I kept scrolling down with flutters in my tummy.
What I saw next almost gave me a heart attack! Sufiyah had photo albums of my kids and her. I have two daughters- 3½ and one. Some of the pictures were of them sitting in the hall together, on our patio, on the swing, and one of them was captured while my baby girls were in the tub having a bubble bath! I couldn’t hold it any longer. With trembling hands, I kept searching through her page for more photos. Thankfully, there were no more. But there were already at least 30 pictures!
I waited for her to return with my tea, then I confronted her about it. She acted like she didn’t know it was wrong. I told her that by her posting such images, strangers would get an up close and personal view of my entire family and my house.
Of course we sent her back to the maid agency and got a replacement. This time we made sure that the new maid was clear about what she could have on her social media pages and what she couldn’t. We were lucky that our current maid is not interested in social networks, and only makes calls home from my mobile phone, upon my knowledge.
My husband and I felt betrayed and utterly disappointed- this was a case of trust abused. By exposing my kids’ private moments and taking photos of herself in different parts of our home, she not only broke rules, but it was also a serious breach of privacy. She had 400 friends (and no privacy settings!) – that’s a lot for someone who had been in Singapore for only 5 months. That’s also a lot of people viewing my life and my exact location.
Yes, we had given her the permission to be on a social network. I thought it was reasonable and agreed even though my husband had his reservations. But now on hindsight, we should have not allowed it. My husband blamed us for not having thought of adding her as a friend on Facebook. Perhaps then we would have been informed about her silly actions quicker.”
This problem is more rampant in recent years. In the 80s, we didn’t have mobile or smart phones, so there weren’t such social issues. Now, even though some of the maids still come from such villages, times have evolved and they are definitely ‘more educated’ than their predecessors.
Whether or not employers decide to give social network access to their domestic helpers is a personal choice. But these helpers should be very clear on what is allowed on their accounts and what is not. They do not have the right to expose any part of their employer’s life on their personal pages.
(Story as told to Pavin Chopra)
What would you do to prevent this from happening to your home and family? Please share with us!