An upstate New York mother allowed her 10-year-old child to shop alone at the LEGO store as she shopped at a different store in the same mall. It appears that the LEGO store’s personnel called the mall’s security, and the child’s mother was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The store does have a sign that states that children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Arresting the mother is obviously absurd over-kill. Obviously also, the LEGO store has a right to have whatever policy it chooses regarding unaccompanied children. However the question remains, and is the Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day…
Is it irresponsible for a mother to allow her 10-year-old to shop alone if the mother is shopping in the same mall?
Related questions as you ponder:
1. When you saw Kevin McCallister shopping alone in the New York City toy store in “Home Alone 2,” did you immediately think that it was unrealistic that Mr. Duncan didn’t call the cops? When I was 11 and my sister was 9, my parents dropped us off at the Boston FAO Schwartz store (“Home Alone 2’s” “Duncan’s Toy Chest” was modeled on FAO Schwartz) while they went shopping at various stores nearby. We were in there for hours. (It was a great day.) They came back and picked us up later. Were my folks being reckless?
2. Do you think children are in more danger in 2017 than they were in earlier years?
3. Why isn’t allowing a child to shop alone with a parent nearby and clear guidelines in place for the child to follow good parenting?
4. Is this a worst case scenario problem in society? Is society reaching a consensus that if there is any chance of danger to a minor, that chance is unacceptable no matter how remote it is?
5. Should it be up to the state to veto a parent’s judgment regarding what challenges a child can be trusted to undertake? We aren’t talking about putting children obvious peril in these cases, just giving children challenges that train them for competent adulthood.