“No One Under 17 Should Be Unaccompanied at the Mall”

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If some kids sometimes shoplift or get into fights, is that reason enough to ban them ALL from the mall without an adult? The people in this news report don’t even ponder that far-reaching question.

So let’s rephrase it: If men sometimes shoplift or get into fights, is that reason enough to ban them all from the mall? How about women? African-Americans? Jews? Asians? Immigrants?

Declaring that children should not be free citizens out and about in what is basically today’s town square — the mall — is as basic a civil rights issue as any. And yet, listen to the doublespeak on the part of both the media and the authorities: Because they ARE THE PROBLEM, those horrible kids, and because they ARE AT RISK, those lovable kids, they are prohibited from freely going about.

Forget logic. Just keep ’em under constant supervision, whether in their bed, on a plane or at the mall. – L.
 

Police say unsupervised children at mall are causing problems, committing crimes. Sarai Demien investigates in a live report.

Posted by KFDM News on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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You must be MATURE to walk around a mall!

You must be MATURE to walk around a mall!

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76 Responses to “No One Under 17 Should Be Unaccompanied at the Mall”

  1. hineata December 30, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Oh, Lordy. Now it’s ‘unsafe’ to leave a kid at the mall? Anyone would think the place was a war zone, or Compton….but no, it looks more upscale than our local mall, which ‘kids’ regularly avail themselves of.

    Still, this is Tennessee. Maybe all those inbred cannibals from the cheap horror films attack the place on a regular basis….

  2. Warren December 30, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    What the hell were these people doing when they were that age? How soon we forget.
    And what about the 16 and 17 yr olds with jobs at the mall? Does mom or dad have to stay with them, or do they just have to walk them to their job, and pick them up like they were in preschool.

  3. Matt in GA December 30, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    If teenagers can’t hang out at the mall, maybe they should go downtown and find a nice independent bookstore who will give them a free copy of the book some meddling busybodies had banned from their school, like this one: http://goodereader.com/blog/bookselling-3/parents-call-the-cops-on-teens-distributing-a-banned-book

  4. Warren December 30, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    I wonder how much of the so called immature activity is a direct result of kids that were never given responsibility when younger? Maybe helicopter parents and their kind are seeing the fruits of their labor.

  5. Neil M December 30, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    Mall management will never undertake to enforce a policy that bans hundreds of customers from the stores. Honestly, it’s absurd to think management should even try. Kids have been goofing around in malls since there have been malls, and there’s no reason to think its worse now than ever. If management wants to prevent things from getting out of hand, fine; if anyone thinks malls are going to post guards on every door, checking IDs and keeping out minors…well, that person is living in a fantasy world.

  6. Emily December 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    “It doesn’t matter if you’re a ‘good kid,’ you’re putting yourself at risk.” Really? What if we applied that mentality to adults as well as kids? Women have fought (and are still fighting) against our “rape culture” that blames the victims for dressing in clothes that are “too revealing,” or for walking alone after dark. Okay, well, there are times of the year when it gets dark around four p.m., so people will necessarily be leaving work for the day after dark at that time of the year. Also, it’s possible for someone to forget until after dark (regardless of what time “dark” happens) that they’re out of bread or something that they need for the next day, and have to run out to the variety mart to get it. Maybe they don’t have a car, or maybe the store is too close to their house to justify driving. If a man does this, it’s fine, but if a woman does it, she’s “putting herself at risk,” apparently. This actually happened to me when I was living in Australia. It was summer, and hot (even at night), and I was wearing a tank top, and, after a full day of helping to run Orientation Week activities at International House as a student leader, I didn’t have a chance to get to the store all day, until I got back to the postgraduate/mature student house where I lived, and found that I needed bread, so I could make myself a sandwich to take on the picnic the next day. So, off I went to the variety mart, but some men followed me, who’d been catcalling me at the train station, and they “just happened” to end up right behind me at the checkout. So, I quietly passed a note to the clerk saying that those men had followed me to the store, and to please distract them for a few minutes, so I could get home unfollowed. This wasn’t my fault, and I think I dealt with the problem appropriately, but refusing to leave my house after the sun went down, just wasn’t an option–I was enrolled at the university at the time, and also in the wind ensemble at the music conservatory near the university, and sometimes I’d get home after dark because it got dark before my class or rehearsal ended. Also, let’s be real, sometimes I’d be on campus late just because I wanted to, for an evening yoga class, or to see a movie at the campus theatre, and again, I’d get home after dark. So, I wasn’t going to stop living life as I needed/wanted to, because I was “putting myself at risk.”

    As for young people in the mall, they might well have a good reason to be there, just like I had a good reason to be walking alone after dark. Maybe they work at the mall–you can certainly get a job in a retail store before you’re seventeen. Maybe they’re out buying Christmas/birthday/Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/whatever gifts for the adults that are apparently supposed to be watching them constantly. Maybe a few of them are emancipated minors, and/or teenage parents, so they ARE the supervising adults for themselves, and possibly others as well. So, not every person under seventeen is being dropped off at the mall to “hang out” and cause trouble. Even for those pre-teens and younger teenagers who are being dropped off, why do people automatically think “hanging out” is synonymous with “causing trouble?” I think they have a good reason to be at the mall too–they’re developing independence. For most of them, their parents drop them off with some money, and tell them to stay inside the mall, and call or text if there’s trouble. No, the mall wasn’t built for that purpose, but where else can that purpose be served? Not at a park; they’re open, so there’s a fear of kids being snatched away by predators, or, more likely, having the police called on them by some busybody sanctimommy. Also, for most kids, by the time they’re old enough to see shopping/going to the mall as a semi-recreational activity, they’ve outgrown the park, especially since the increasingly-stringent “safety standards” are making the equipment boring for pretty much anyone above toddler age, or maybe kindergarten. The other thing is, the mall is more “real” than the playground. The playground is where kids go to play, but the mall provides a small taste of the adult world, which kids crave, starting at the age of about eleven or twelve. Maybe they don’t buy much, or anything at all, at the mall, but honestly, some adults (including myself) occasionally go to the mall during quiet times just to walk around, browse, window shop, et cetera. Some older adults go to malls just to walk. So, yeah, I can see banning kids who start fights or shoplift (not indefinitely; just long enough to teach them a lesson), but I can’t support the idea of banning an entire age group, and then blaming the innocent members of that age group of “putting themselves at risk.” Young people are also “putting themselves at risk” when they get bullied day after day at school, while the adults don’t do anything about it, but somehow, that’s acceptable.

  7. ChicagoDad December 30, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    One of the suburban malls near our neighborhood instituted a similar policy last year. Teens under 18 need to have supervision on weekend evenings:

    http://abc7chicago.com/news/chicago-ridge-mall-implements-new-teen-escort-policy/506898/

    The policy was instituted after a fight broke out in the food court and there was some panic that ensued. I followed the story when it happened. It turned out that the fight was between two young adults between the ages of 18 and 21. So the policy didn’t really even address the issue that precipitated it.

    This stuff is dumb.

  8. lollipoplover December 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Haha!!

    I just dropped three 12 year-old girls off at the mall. They are armed with Pink gift cards and will likely raid the Auntie Anne’s Pretzel stand as soon as they get there. My daughter has strict instructions to buy a birthday present for her friend’s party tonight but otherwise will be spending her hard earned babysitting money on post-Christmas bargains and will likely come home stinking of fruity body sprays and perfumes.

    Malls are dinosaurs and dying a slow, painful death in this e-commerce economy. Banning customers will just speed up their death.

  9. Peter December 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    At my local mall, The Mall Of America, on Friday and Saturday evenings youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older from 4 p.m. until close. One adult may supervise up to 10 youth.

    Keep in mind that this mall is more than twice the size of the professional baseball stadium it replaced. Problems that arise can become huge. One of the problems they had was large numbers of under-16 teens fighting, causing damage, graffiti, etc. If they moved their security force to any one area of the mall, the problems would begin in another area. The feeling among the public was that it was dangerous for families to visit the mall on weekends, especially in the evening.

    By adding the escort rule, they have effectively eliminated the problem. Families now feel safe attending movies and other events (and shopping) at the mall on weekend evenings.

    Perhaps a rule like this is overkill in a regular-sized mall, but for “The Megamall”, it has made a huge positive difference.

  10. E December 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    We have a lovely outdoor semi-upscale “mall” and they often host music in their large common courtyard area. The nice movie theater also is situated near the common/green area. I know they had kids that came to the weekly concerts with booze and got sloppy drunk and unruly. That behavior drives away customers who might actually spend money. Same thing with loitering after movies. There are very few places open late at night at this mall (even most food closes) so kids (and their parents that left them) were just using the outdoor common area as a gathering spot after their movies let out.

    I don’t have the answer, but I have seen some of the issues retail would like to avoid.

    Yes, kids gathered at places as teens. I think today the groups can get pretty large because it only takes a tweet or an instagram or a snapchat to instantly spread the word that these things are ongoing, etc.

  11. E December 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    @Warren — I completely agree with you about what we did as teens. I just don’t think it’s the same thing at least in some cases. I think the groups are larger, I think their desire to be noteworthy (and capture it on their phones) is greater, and I think it becomes an issue when it starts to cost the mall money to insure safety (more staff) and drives away other customers who are valued by the mall.

    Yes, a few bad apples….

    If I owned a business, I’m not sure I’d be thrilled with teen loitering in large groups. (Notice I said large..not a few girls or a set of girls/boys which is what it was when I was a teen).

  12. E December 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    From the KFDM story:

    “”It’s not unusual on the weekends to have three or four fights. I believe we had seven on Saturday. We had two robberies where twelve year olds beat up another twelve year old and took their personal property,” says Officer Carol Riley.”

  13. AmyO December 30, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    I LIVED at the mall in high school. Every weekend we were there. I can’t even imagine my parents having to take me. If a kid can get a job there at 14, there is no reason to be accompanied.

    If the situation is like the one E described, then that is a separate issue. The community, mall, and police force should be working together to address the situation. Of course, it’s much easier just to kick the drunk and unruly teens out, so they can take their behavior into the streets and get arrested than to try to come up with a solution.

  14. Warren December 30, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    E,
    It is just laziness on the part of the mall’s. Easier to put in a zero tolerance rule than to deal with the issue.

    It is so easy to do this with minors. But if you were to put in blanket zero tolerance rules for adults, you would have your butt in a civil suit as fast as you could blink.

    Just goes to prove, under 18 you have no rights.

  15. Warren December 30, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    And I will tell you right now, part of the problem is the adult men these days are scared little pansies. They are afraid to stand up to these punks causing problems. And it is only getting worse.

  16. Dan December 30, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    I just did a search of my local news for the word “Unsupervised.”

    Some good things:
    http://komonews.com/archive/san-diego-skaters-relish-freedom-of-unsupervised-parks-11-21-2015

    Some things we might be neutral on:
    http://komonews.com/archive/bill-would-raise-age-for-unsupervised-hunting

    Some that come under the “laws passed because the human race is weird” category:
    http://komonews.com/news/local/house-passes-bill-stating-defendants-cant-view-child-porn-alone

    Some genuinely helpful information:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/news/unsupervised-outdoor-skate-parks/

    An inane article with a scare headline: “Teen-proof your home”
    http://www.king5.com/story/news/health/2014/07/29/12778260/

    And of course, the reason this site exists: Nothing bad happens, but something bad could have happened, so extreme measures are of course taken. Because safety of the children.
    http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2015/05/07/lacey-kindergartner-leaves-school-unsupervised/70977726/

    Just that one word UNSUPERVISED on the screen with no context is supposed to be jarring and scary.
    A reminder that overprotectiveness runs deep into the cultural hard-wiring. The word itself elicits a visceral response from an audience. And the response is intended to be fear: fear of a loss of control.

    I don’t know any way to counteract that, except trying to inculcate fearlessness as a virtue—something to strive for and teach.

  17. Junie December 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    This one makes me angry. My son skipped several grades in school, graduated early and went to college. He went to the local mall with a group of his college friends and was stopped by security. After looking at his ID and seeing that he was a minor and not with a parent, they threw him out of the mall! He tried to tell the security guard that he was a college student buying himself some items, but they didn’t care He had planned to do quite a bit of shopping that day and they lost sales. As far as I know, he’s never gone to that mall since that incident and the mall owners now complain about how difficult it is to attract customers.

  18. E December 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    @Warren

    “But if you were to put in blanket zero tolerance rules for adults, you would have your butt in a civil suit as fast as you could blink.”

    The adults spend more money than the teens do at shopping centers, so without them, the stores don’t sell things.

    I agree that kids are an easy target, but if the majority (even well behaved ones) are treating it as a social center, it’s a lot easier to lop off that demographic w/o hurting your bottom line.

    I also agree it’s sounds ridiculous to have a 17 year old rule….but I sympathize with the behavior issue.

  19. Tim December 30, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    It’s interesting that shopping centers are private property but (as mentioned) also often function as the defacto town square. But as private entities they are treated differently that true public spaces. They don’t have to allow free speech and they can bar certain people. I think an argument could be made that they are discriminating based on age.

    If the city councilperson really feels that this shopping center is such a dangerous place that a sixteen year old can’t buy a pair of jeans and see a movie without coming to a bad end, he must have a very low opinion of his community’s youth. How safe can it be for twenty year olds? And is it just the children we need protecting from?

    And if he thinks his community’s youth is of such ow quality that they can’t be trusted to enter what is essentially a public space, what is he doing to address that issue?

  20. Warren December 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    E,

    Not completely true. My daughters spent and spend more in the mall than us parents do. And the money we do spend in the mall is usually on them. There is not a single store in the mall that I have bought anything for me or my bride in years. And not because of kids.

    My biggest people problem in malls is adults. They are rude, arrogant and just plain pain’s in the butt.

    But you missed the point entirely. If you ban minors, everyone let’s it fly. Try banning males 30 to 48, an 18 yr span. And see how that works out for you in civil court.

  21. Dot December 30, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    Meh. I worked in security at the Mall of America during college when they implemented the no one under 16 without parents rule (or PEP – parental escort policy). It’s only on Friday and Saturday evenings. It happened after there were several big fights and a lot of graffiti and other property damage incidents, mostly involving teens. It’s been at least 15 years and I haven’t heard a word about it since it was first implemented.

    The difference between MOAs policy and the one above is that MOA’s was never presented as a way to keep kids safe. It was presented only as “adults and families can come to the mall without worrying about groups of 15 year olds fighting in the food court.” It costs the mall a significant amount of money, because they have to put guards at each entrance to check ids.

    One can argue about whether the rights of the kids are being infringed, but I don’t see the MOA’s rule as an over protection issue. It’s more a “keep those damn kids off my lawn” issue.

  22. lollipoplover December 30, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    “The adults spend more money than the teens do at shopping centers, so without them, the stores don’t sell things.”

    Not true.

    Abercrombie, Aeropostale, Holister, H&M, Forever21, Pink, etc. are all for a young demographic who have money and are willing to spend it on overpriced hipster clothing. They are keeping malls in business. I wouldn’t be caught dead in these stores (and no one needs to see a 40 yo woman with the letters PINK on her ass) and do not step foot in malls. I’ve eaten at restaurants attached to malls but can count on one hand the visits I made to a mall in the past 10 years. Now my daughter, she can easily spend her money at any of these stores happily and they gladly take her money.

  23. andy December 30, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    @e Teenage violence and criminality is going down and was going down for years. So while I am willing to believe that current teenagers are more annoying in various ways, I find it hard to believe that they are more unsafe to be around as previous generation were. Of course it is possible locally in some place, but overall they are less dangerous.

    I think that part of reason for these rules is that there are large groups of people who simply dislike young people, are unused to young people being around, assume worst about them and want to live existence where they never met other people’s kids.

  24. Donna December 30, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

    “The adults spend more money than the teens do at shopping centers, so without them, the stores don’t sell things.”

    I disagree with this. But for my child, I would never step foot in a mall. I don’t know any adult who shops at the mall anymore. My daughter loves it.

    I have to go with my child to the mall because our local mall sucks so we usually travel go to one of the nicer ones in Atlanta, so it is technically an adult shopping at the mall, but it is all 100% kid-oriented shopping. I prefer to do my shopping without the kid … and not in the mall.

  25. Emily December 30, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    >>The difference between MOAs policy and the one above is that MOA’s was never presented as a way to keep kids safe. It was presented only as “adults and families can come to the mall without worrying about groups of 15 year olds fighting in the food court.”<<

    Besides the fact that that rule unfairly punishes young people who are capable of using the mall responsibly, while doing nothing to address those who cause trouble at times when the parental escort policy isn't in effect, I think a 4 p.m. cut-off is too early. When I was in high school, I'd go to the mall after school from time to time, usually for a specific reason, like getting my hair cut, or buying an outfit for a specific occasion, or something like that. I didn't hang around the mall aimlessly like stereotypical teenagers did–if anything, I do that more now, although it's still not often. Anyway, my school let out at 2:30, and I'd leave at some point between 2:30 and 3, unless I had student council or something, in which case I'd leave later. I took public transit to the mall, so it took some time to get there, so under the Mall of America's rules, I wouldn't have been able to go to the mall after school if it happened to be Friday, until I was seventeen. Fortunately, none of our three malls had any such rules, but look at the implications–"We'll treat you like a criminal until you pass a certain birthday, but only on Fridays and Saturdays after 4 p.m. Any other time, be sure to check out our stores, full of clothing, accessories, make-up, sports equipment, and electronic devices marketed specifically to you!!!" My point is, malls and stores are going to go out of business, if they insist on criminalizing one of their major target markets. Even if some teenagers (and adults) like to socialize in malls, a lot of them will at least buy something small, like a Starbucks drink, or a soft pretzel, and that's revenue that the mall wouldn't have if those young people chose instead to buy online, after having been made to feel unwelcome at the mall.

    Conversely, not everything can be done online. Like I said before, when I went to the mall as a teenager, it was usually for a haircut, which necessarily has to be done in person, or to buy something I needed in the very near future, like a dress for a dance that night, or the next day, because with my busy schedule of homework and extra-curricular activities, I often didn't have time to shop further in advance. So, again, that's more revenue that these malls are losing with their age-discriminatory policies. There's also the ripple effect. As a teenager, I had friends my age, and I also had older friends, because I joined the senior band earlier than average, near the end of grade nine, whereas most people joined in grade eleven. So, I can definitely see a group of teenagers thinking, "It's Friday after school; let's do something. Oh, but we can't go to the mall, because they'll kick Younger Friend out at 4 p.m., because she's just below the age cut-off, and we're just above it, but not yet eighteen." Just like that, the mall has lost the revenue they would have made from that entire group of teenagers, whether they were planning to just get a snack, or shop for entire wardrobes.

  26. andy December 30, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    How you treat young people as they are growing up is how they will treat people when they grow up to be cops, politicians, judges, teachers, nurses, bosses and so on. If you dish out controlling punish whole demographic for deeds of few policies against them, they will favor similar policies against whoever will stand in their way later on.

    People who were controlled so much in their formative years won’t value freedom or rights of others later on.

  27. That_Susan December 30, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    My older daughter’s been going on her own with her friends to the mall since she was 14. They’ve never had any problems, and I think most teens will do just fine. She’s one of those “smart kids” who knows not to leave the mall with anyone and especially not to get into anyone’s big white van, LOL — but honestly, I think most kids her age are smart like that. She also knows how to shop without shoplifting. I know, I know, I just have some really sharp kids, I’m so proud. 🙂

    For those rare kids (or grownups) who act up, shoplift, and/or get into fights — aren’t they the main reason that malls have security? I sure wouldn’t enjoy eating in a food-court and having a fight break out, but since there are people there to take care of it, presumably I wouldn’t be inconvenienced for long before they got escorted out. And I imagine repeat offenders could just be banned for a period of time.

  28. That_Susan December 30, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    Come on kids! Let’s go to the mall — today! 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY_bhVSGKEg

  29. Buffy December 30, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    Let me get this straight…you want us all to go to the mall? Today?

  30. Dasy2k1 December 30, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    This makes me glad I live on the other side of the Atlantic from the USA! I thoght things were bad here with excessive helicopter parenting but at least here we don’t have this nonsense or the police (or social services (our version of CPS )) getting involved every time a parent leaves a kid alone for 30s… Most of the problems here are ludicrously risk adverse school administrators trying to ban running at recess incase somone gets hurt which usually results in the press making a laughing stock out of them and the rules quietly being dropped

  31. JKP December 30, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

    Thanks a lot, Buffy. Now I can’t get that song out of my head.

  32. Warren December 30, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

    I just cannot wait until all these minors that have been subjected to zero tolerance BS become adults. They will then be the law and policy makers. Hopefully they get their revenge by making the same sort of laws and policies that strip senior citizens of their freedom and dignity.

  33. Warren December 31, 2015 at 1:51 am #

    Wonder if some rent a cop at this mall is going to have the nerve to kick out a 17 yr old member of the armed forces?

  34. James Pollock December 31, 2015 at 3:12 am #

    “‘The adults spend more money than the teens do at shopping centers, so without them, the stores don’t sell things.’
    Not true.
    Abercrombie, Aeropostale, Holister, H&M, Forever21, Pink, etc. are all for a young demographic who have money and are willing to spend it on overpriced hipster clothing.”

    The teenagers’ money is still welcome. They just have to drag mom or dad to the mall with them when they want to buy overpriced hipster clothing.

    I guess that enough kids are choosing the retailers’ way when they have to choose between being free of mom and dad, or being free of overpriced hipster clothing.

  35. James Pollock December 31, 2015 at 3:15 am #

    “Come on kids! Let’s go to the mall — today! 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY_bhVSGKEg

    Without even looking, I know which song this is.

    Don’t forget the followups… “Sandcastles in the Sand”, “Two Beavers are Better Than One”, and “PS I Love You”

  36. E December 31, 2015 at 7:53 am #

    For those that keep saying that kids spend more money than adults — perhaps I just need to say that my kids have a FAR lower income than me, and in fact had 0 income a great deal of time that they were teens. In order to keep malls filled with adults who spend money and kids who spend what little money they have or kids who spend money that their parents give to them, it probably makes sense for the malls to keep them in such condition that people feel it’s a decent place for them to go or to allow their kids to go.

    I don’t go to malls either. But it’s not just teens willing to buy $100 jeans a few times a year that keep them in business. Unless people responding to me are giving their kids $1000s of dollars a year to shop at their malls — in which case, my apologies.

  37. E December 31, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    @Warren — does the US military allow members < 18?

    Not that I disagree with your thoughts, 17 is a ridiculous age at which to put this type of limit.

    It should be noted that the 'alarmist' was a City Council member and he's the one that claimed there was a 17 year old limit. The women who was a retail manager there at the store for a number of years seemed very clear that her concern was kids 12 and under that were her concern…and how it had become more common to see.

  38. Donna December 31, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    E – I don’t think anyone is arguing that teens have a lot of their own money to spend (although many teens have far more than you are giving them credit for if their allowance counts as their own money). The majority is the parent’s money. But, at least back in my day, teens were spending it with their friends and not their parents. No self-respecting teen went shopping with their parents when I was a teen in the 80s or my brother was a teen in the 90s. By the age of 12-13, your parents gave you the money and dropped you and your friends off at the mall. If the argument is seriously that the mall needs to be nicer so that parents can take their high school kids back-to-school shopping, then we have already lost the battle as that is something that they should really be doing themselves.

  39. lollipoplover December 31, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    “For those that keep saying that kids spend more money than adults — perhaps I just need to say that my kids have a FAR lower income than me, and in fact had 0 income a great deal of time that they were teens.’

    I routinely borrow money from my kids, who actually work for their money. They earn cash from babysitting and dogsitting jobs (though my older son has 3 side *businesses*). The going rate for babysitters in our area is $15 an hour. Dog walking and pet sitting get 40-50 for an overnight (and many families go away for a week vacation at a time). The 14 yo sells used golf balls all year long (which basically pays for his greens fees so he breaks even) and also details cars for @$150 per car. He also does custom carpentry (and is doing signage for a friend who just opened her own store) for low prices as he uses pallets and other inexpensive materials but paints them. He also makes cat trees and sells them (very cool too). All of this brings him income and he set up his own bank account and makes monthly deposits. He wants to buy a car when he turns 16. He wouldn’t step foot in a mall or waste hard earned money on crappy clothes.

    Yes, some parents hand their kids money and tell them to go shopping. But many others do have jobs and should be able to spend their own money they earned without supervision without the need of an adult escort.

  40. MichaelF December 31, 2015 at 8:48 am #

    If you listen closely to what they show of the clothing store manager it comes across more of her own beliefs that kids need to be supervised, it doesn’t sound to be an issue coming from the store. I would believe there are fights in the mall, when you get lots of teens together things happen, and usually without knowing how to resolve conflicts properly they fight. I wonder if that comes from lack of parenting, or rather, lack of exposure to finding diplomatic solutions, or just plain talking? hmmmm…

  41. E December 31, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    yeah — I’d be more interested in someone who’d managed a store at the mall for 9 years had to say. If there were 7 fights involving kids at the mall on one night, I can see it being a news story. If her (the store mgr) observation based her experience is that kids 12 and younger are being dropped at the mall in greater numbers, then it’s noteworthy (if anecdotal).

    Then again, I imagine the patience of a retail manager for kids showing up and fighting during the holidays is pretty low!

  42. Havva December 31, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    Funny I should see this shortly after hearing an article about how women in Saudi Arabia are pushing for the right to do things normal in the rest of the world like walk down a street, or ride a bike.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/12/30/460946605/in-ways-big-and-small-saudia-arabian-women-are-pushing-normal

    Restrictions on young people are absolutely a civil rights issue. And more than that it is a civilization issue. Having lived in a town that became increasingly anti-kid in my childhood, I have to say that treating kids like dirt simply because of their age is a self fulfilling prophesy. The more you clamp down on all kids of a certain age the more kids ask themselves: “If I’m going to be punished no matter what I do, If I have no freedom unless I break rules, why NOT try to get away with as much as I can for as long as I can.”

    Then of course when the kids act out from their frustration at being pushed to the edges of society, those explosions become an excuse to further exclude the kids. I remember in the late 90’s listening to some hateful ‘report’ about ‘teen crime’ as though teens are the only people committing crimes. The pundits were going nuts on the “where were the parents” line. And I was just thinking: “Who cares? Teens have their own brains and can and do defy their parents. What do these people expect? Do they think the parents should be on the kid 24/7? Teens know perfectly well not to do these things, treat the problem teens, don’t treat it like being a teen is inherently a problem.”

    Most ominously as I heard this line of thinking over and over I thought. “If it keeps up like this they will demand that teens be jailed from 13-18, and then wonder why the adults at 18 come out angry and warped.” Even then, even understanding how much this was driven by hatred of young people, I didn’t imagine that these control freaks would push to entirely eliminate unsupervised minors from the public sphere. I can only hope that the next generation finds the courage to face individual problems and stop with all the mass punishments of youngsters. I have no intention of being my daughter’s jailer. But I wonder how, or if, she will be able to join a society so intent on keeping young people out.

  43. lollipoplover December 31, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    “I can only hope that the next generation finds the courage to face individual problems and stop with all the mass punishments of youngsters. I have no intention of being my daughter’s jailer. But I wonder how, or if, she will be able to join a society so intent on keeping young people out.”

    Your daughter (and you) need to join (and patronize) the society that doesn’t have these stupid rules. There are still many of places in the US that welcome well-behaved kids (and the money they spend) without ridiculous rules. We have a mall near us with age restrictions. We don’t shop there. The other mall is closer and has no restrictions. My daughter shops there 2-3 times a month. OUr local outdoor shopping district welcomes young shoppers. They have rules (no biking or skateboarding on sidewalks) aimed at maintaining the peace, but I see TONS of young adults behaving properly. Go into any Chipolte or Panera after school. It’s almost all teenagers. the local frozen yogurt place hires 14 year-olds (with working papers). Nice to patronize a store your friends work at. Young adults need places in the community they can socialize with other kids. If I see a kid I know acting up or misbehaving, I ask myself “Would I want to know if my kid acted like this?” and will make the uncomfortable call to that parent. I’ve only had to do it once. Kids will make mistakes and need consequences and we as adults need to do our part to keep our communities *safe*.

    Forcing them to have supervision because of the behavior of a few kids that should probably be in juvie makes no sense. Shoplifting and assaults are police issues. If there was a breakout of sexual assaults on women at a mall, would we require all women to have male escorts when shopping too? It is a civil rights issue when we restrict basic freedoms simply because of age.

    I see more bad behavior from adults when shopping than I see from *unsupervised* children. Look at any Walmart Black Friday footage of fights and shopping mayhem and I bet you won’t see 12 year-olds committing those crimes. Yet there aren’t bans on their age groups even though year after year they commit these same crimes.

  44. That_Susan December 31, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    “Let me get this straight…you want us all to go to the mall? Today?”

    That’s right! Come on, Buffy!

  45. That_Susan December 31, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    “Thanks a lot, Buffy. Now I can’t get that song out of my head.”

    You’re welcome! Come on, JKP! Here’s the movie that’s playing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TwFGE1oipc

  46. That_Susan December 31, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    @James Pollock: “Without even looking, I know which song this is.

    Don’t forget the followups… ‘Sandcastles in the Sand’, ‘Two Beavers are Better Than One’, and ‘PS I Love You'”

    Robin Sparkles Rocks! You can’t be all bad, James!

  47. Emily December 31, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    Let’s go to the mall, everybody!

    Come on Donna, Warren, and Lenore Skenazy!
    Let’s reform the mall; the rules are crazy!
    Put on your lawyer voice,
    Advocate for Free-Range,
    At the mall, the policies are going to have to change!

    For youth not seventeen yet (Let them in!)
    They’re going to kick them out, I bet! (No adult?)
    We don’t care, ’cause this is all a pointless scare!

    Everybody come and say,
    “Throw those baseless fears away!”
    Lets reform the mall, today
    Lets reform the mall everybody!

    There’s this boy I know,
    He works at the food court
    He’s emancipated,
    And rents from a landlord!
    But he can’t shop alone,
    ‘Cause seventeen, he’s not!
    But “rules are rules,” you see,
    Said the bureaucratic robot

    They say that they’re too young to shop (Lame!)
    Made guilty by the rent-a-cop (Civil rights?!?!)
    That’s OK, we’ll speak up for their freedom anyway!
    We’re going to advocate ’til they have their day!

    Everybody come and say
    “Throw those baseless fears away!”
    Let’s reform the mall today

    I went to the mall with a couple of teens,
    Their straight A’s and clean records didn’t mean beans!
    I wish the adults didn’t treat kids like dirt,
    At the end of the day, it’s their profits they’ll hurt–
    My kid turned around and who’d did she see
    The head of mall security,
    He said, “Miss Sixteen, I don’t approve.”
    You need an adult; to the door you must move!
    Hit it Lenore, come on
    Let’s reform the mall

    Let’s reform the mall, everybody!
    Everybody come and say
    “Throw those baseless fears away!”
    Let’s reform the mall today

    Everybody storm the mall!
    Everybody come and say (Yeah!)
    “Throw those baseless fears away!” (Let’s have some common sense!)
    Let’s reform the mall today

  48. Emily December 31, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Hit Enter too soon–the first line should say “Let’s reform the mall, everybody!”

  49. E December 31, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    @lollipoplover — my kids didn’t work during the school year and were encouraged to save all (or almost all) of their summer money for college expenses. They had some allowances and got money at Christmas, birthdays ,etc but I’m pretty happy to say that I have more disposable income than they do. So given that most of their purchases came from my bank account (in some way or another) they didn’t end up spending much of it on overpriced things at the mall — even if they liked to hang out there. The amount of money that came from this household on purchases for them from the mall would have to extremely small. YMMV.

    I get it — teens like the mall.

    The malls can still have an issue with kids that they’d like to get under control w/o a lot of easy answers (it seems). I think 7 fights in 1 night, many (all? it doesn’t seem to indicate) were from a pretty young group.

  50. That_Susan December 31, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    Emily, you’re an absolute genius!

  51. Jenny December 31, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

    Can’t we start a petition or something? This is ridiculous!

  52. JP Merzetti January 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    Interesting that it even becomes an argument about the rights of kids. Will we one day have a march on Washington, postcripted by a beautiful speech about freedom and dreams? Will we one day see “Star of Teenage” badges sewn on kids’ coatsleeves?

    A mall has always been a supreme joke as a privatised “public” space. There is nothing public about it, at all.
    That was entirely the intention.
    But what about a citizen’s right to shop? To spend almighty dollars? Donate to a needy and deserving economy?
    Oh….kids aren’t exactly citizens. Well then what the hell are they….exactly?

    Here it comes, folks. The good old “when I was a kid” schtick….
    Problem kids in a mall? Deal with them, and leave the other kids alone. What a concept.
    The town I grew up in had cops on the beat. But it also had a main street. It was a nice design. It was public space.
    I was a boy scout. I literally did help little old ladies across the street. Imagine being banned because I was ‘only’ 11? Hell.

    I just get giggle fits thinking about some places in the world where people are married at that age…..(too young for us perhaps, but social norms there) ….and if not to that extreme, then in positions of incredible social and economic responsibility.

    “Old enough” is a concept that has become frighteningly atrophied in the American lexicon.
    As if child to adult only exists anymore – from one side to the other of an earned MBA.

    And anyhow, perhaps it’s even a somewhat sexist rule. Anyone knows a 16 year-old boy can and often does look like……..exactly 16.
    Whereas in today’s pop-cultured fashion show a 16 year-old girl might pass for his young mother.

  53. lollipoplover January 2, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    @E- I truly don’t care how other families spend their disposable income. Eat out every night at the mall. It’s not my business and I don’t judge. Some families don’t allow their kids to work and focus on school. My husband I and worked since early ages (and I worked full-time at the mall during college) so when our kids ask to take jobs throughout the year, we support them. Our parents allowed us this same responsibility. I borrow cash from my kids because I have direct deposit and they save me a trip to the atm. But if you don’t allow your kids to work during school, that’s your decision and none of my business.

    The point I was trying to make was that tween kids, like my own, do have money to spend (as do their parents):

    According to BusinessWeek magazine, “Of the reported US$ 51 billion spent by tweens themselves, an additional $170 billion was spent by parents and family members directly for them” in the United States annually (2). In the UK, we have 11 million people aged 15 and under, with a remarkable total expenditure of £12 billion from children up to 18, money often coming from own pocket money (alas parent’s pockets!) and part-time jobs (2b). This does not merely represent an access to more money on the part of tweens, but also a far greater lack of discretion about what they will spend it on. Teens, by contrast, who have begun to earn and control their own funds, have more awareness of the fact that money is finite and needs to be prioritized around what they really want, introducing a level of agency and choosiness about what they buy which is the precursor to adult spending habits.

    So for our family, we will continue to allow our teens (and tweens) to earn and control their own funds and let them have jobs. If they want to spend their earnings at Justice on glitter/sparkle/twinkle/LSD-inspired fashions, I have zero problem with it. To each his own.

  54. Bob Davis January 2, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    One aspect of the “teenagers at malls” discussion that was not mentioned (although I didn’t carefully read all the comments) was the ethnic background of the teens that cause trouble. Do troublemakers come in all colors, or is there one particular group that the fingers are pointing at?

    For the record, I don’t go to the local mall very often and my wife would much rather let Amazon and UPS take care of her shopping.

  55. Joel Casselman January 2, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

    Here is something that most people do not realize. Most retail thefts are not due to shoplifting, they are inside jobs. There have even been armed robberies where the perpetrator has had inside help.

    Also, if a youth has caused trouble at a mail, then the management is within their rights to bar that youth from the premises, or require adult supervision, but to bar all youths from a mall violates the premise of innocent until proven guilty.

  56. PacMom January 3, 2016 at 12:22 am #

    @ChicagoDad: I always like your comments. I grew up in West Suburbia and went to the mall all the time. Also joined USN age 17. Guess I should have been kicked out of the Recruiting Station at the mall ! My son is 15 been working Detassling for 3 yrs now after school job at book store too. 1 mile from home. Guess how he gets there? It involves sneakers and no parents!

  57. James Pollock January 3, 2016 at 12:45 am #

    “to bar all youths from a mall violates the premise of innocent until proven guilty.”

    The government can’t punish you until after due process. Private individuals, however, have no such obligation. Merchants are prohibited against discriminating on the basis of race, sex, national origin, or religion. In some states, sexual orientation is on the list, too, and in some states, it is not.

  58. andy January 3, 2016 at 5:21 am #

    Innocent until proven guilty is reasonable policy even for non governmental institutions. It did not get placed into constitution because guys got drunk and thought is will be funny, but because other policies end in abuse (especially against unpopular groups), resentment, unfairness and host of problems.

    It is perfectly to criticise unfair punishment done by private institution even if constitution allows it. Constitution is not a list of all that is wrong where everything not mentioned in it is good ethical and reasonable. It is perfectly ok to criticise institutions for acts that are legal, but still unfair.

  59. BL January 3, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    @Joel Casselman
    “Here is something that most people do not realize. Most retail thefts are not due to shoplifting, they are inside jobs. There have even been armed robberies where the perpetrator has had inside help.”

    I’m reminded of a situation I read about where a mall had people monitoring security cameras watching the parking garage so items wouldn’t be stolen from cars. This was during Christmas so many people were buying so much they’d drop one set of purchases in the trunk and then go back to shop for more.

    It turns out the security monitors were in collusion with thieves. The thieves would be tipped off where to find well-stocked trunks and the security recordings would be erased. The “security” people got a payoff from the thieves.

    (But of course anyone who objects to security monitoring must have “something to hide” (rolls eyes)).

  60. James Pollock January 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    “Innocent until proven guilty is reasonable policy even for non governmental institutions.”
    True enough. But non-governmental institutions remain free to decide for themselves.

    Rights seldom occur in isolation, and find their boundaries are in other rights. In this case, in property rights.

  61. Andy January 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    @James Pollock “Rights seldom occur in isolation, and find their boundaries are in other rights. In this case, in property rights.”

    Are you using some random sentence generator? That is no property right that would guarantee your mall policies wont be criticized/argued about by public, especially not by those affected by them.

  62. James Pollock January 3, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    Andy, is there some reason you addressed your random argument against a claim nobody ever made, to me?

  63. Andy January 3, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    @James Pollock You mean the one that quoted your off-topic comment?

  64. James Pollock January 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Yes, the one that doesn’t say anything at all like the argument you’re ranting about. That one, Andy.

  65. James Pollock January 3, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    Let me help you out.

    There is a fairly-constrained right not to be discriminated against.
    There is a broad right to exclude other people from your private property.

    As you note correctly, there is no right not to be criticized for how you use your freedom.
    As I noted, nobody claimed there was.

    Your move.

  66. Andy January 3, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    @James Pollock So basically, according to yourself, your comments were just pointing out random totally unrelated things? I will settle for that. I assumed you was trying to be on-topic with your “Private individuals, however, have no such obligation” and “Rights seldom occur in isolation” comments.

    That being settled, I like the game. My move: The Beatles formed in Liverpool in 1960.

  67. Vicky January 3, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

    I think the best way to stop the young adults who do cause trouble, is to actually arrest them and maybe have a fine that parents are responsible for if they cannot pay themselves. Place the ban on individual trouble makers. It’s a total cop out for cops to release hundreds who show up specifically to vandalize and terrorize, with no consequences at all, which happened over the holiday weekend. We have become a society that punishes the responsible and rewards bad behavior!

  68. James Pollock January 3, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    “I think the best way to stop the young adults who do cause trouble, is to actually arrest them and maybe have a fine that parents are responsible for if they cannot pay themselves.”

    I’m sure if they could do that, the malls would be happy to pursue that outcome. But the troublemakers don’t come out and say “yo, I’m just here to cause trouble” as they enter, and, after trouble erupts, they don’t usually stick around to explain themselves to police.

  69. Erika Joye January 3, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    OMG! I started working at the mall when I was 16. If this is enforced the mall will lose a lot of their customers and employees.

  70. That_Susan January 4, 2016 at 7:12 am #

    “I’m sure if they could do that, the malls would be happy to pursue that outcome. But the troublemakers don’t come out and say ‘yo, I’m just here to cause trouble’ as they enter, and, after trouble erupts, they don’t usually stick around to explain themselves to police.”

    I understand that the mall security are not police officers, but I believe that they could do a sort of citizen’s arrest and detain the troublemakers until the police got there. And they’d be recorded on the surveillance cameras, too. Enough kids start getting banned from the mall (not everything would warrant legal action — but a ban from the mall hits a teen pretty hard), and it will get around and the kids who want to be able to keep enjoying their mall will figure out how to stay out of trouble — the smart ones anyway.

  71. lollipoplover January 4, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    @That_Susan- That’s entirely too logical. You mean ban the actual crime (and these are police matters) which is already illegal vs. banning the entire age group based on the behavior of a choice few? Requiring these hoodlums to be supervised will only amplify the criminal activity at the mall.

    Where do you think these punks learned this bad behavior? Most likely, from the parents or adults in their lives. Kids who are 12 and are already shoplifting, assaulting others, and using loud profanities (all attention-seeking behaviors) usually don’t have great parental examples in their lives. At these ages, they are likely mimicking behaviors they see at home or around them. So the mall requires them to bring these example parents to supervise kids at the malls. Way to double your crime, mall.

  72. E January 4, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    http://college.usatoday.com/2015/12/28/2000-teens-fight-at-louisville-mall/

    This time the mall had to close down due to the severity of the behavior.

  73. That_Susan January 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    @lollipoplover: “Where do you think these punks learned this bad behavior? Most likely, from the parents or adults in their lives. Kids who are 12 and are already shoplifting, assaulting others, and using loud profanities (all attention-seeking behaviors) usually don’t have great parental examples in their lives. At these ages, they are likely mimicking behaviors they see at home or around them. So the mall requires them to bring these example parents to supervise kids at the malls. Way to double your crime, mall.”

    This is a great point! The principal at my daughter’s high school told a story at the beginning of the school year about the difficulties caused when students get offended with each other on social media and then come into school ready to fight. Last year, there was apparently one such situation in which they managed to sit the two students down and get them to work things out without things having to escalate — but a bit later, they ended up needing police intervention when both students’ mothers showed up at the school and started physically fighting each other. Both mothers actually had to be arrested.

    My own teen has had some verbal conflicts with other kids, but has absolutely no problem with dealing with them in a way that doesn’t require outside intervention. Maybe that’s because she’s never seen her dad or I get into a physical fight with anyone, no matter how rude that person was.

    Parental attitudes about fighting, holding grudges, and all kinds of things really do carry over to the kids. Our daughters both know that we expect them to do everything they can to avoid ever being in a fight with anyone. In contrast, a classmate of my older daughter has been told by her mother that they’ll really reward her if she gets in a fight, because they worry that she doesn’t stand up for herself.

    We’ve always emphasized dealing with bullies first by just ignoring them if at all possible, or speaking up if the bully is not respecting space — but in cases where the bully just ignores what they have to say and continues disrespecting space, it’s then time to report the behavior to an adult. I realize that this may not gel with some free-range old-timers who believe in teaching kids to fight — but I personally feel like if some other adult on the street or in the workplace hits me, or even threatens me, I’m not going to roll up my sleeves and fight this person. I’m going to report them to the authorities and let them deal with them. And if it’s not “tattling” for me to expect to be able to go about my day without having my hair pulled, my butt poked, or even someone continually tapping my on the shoulder to tell me “you’re fat” or “you’re ugly,” then it’s not tattling for a child to report continual invasions of his or her space, either.

    Of course, I’m not saying that all offensive behavior should be reported. I may overhear someone saying something negative about me and be hurt and angered by that, but that’s not a matter to report to my manager or the police. So it’s important to teach our kids to draw the line between offensive behavior that’s hurtful but that we can deal with on our own (with the loving support of friends and family), and offensive behavior that we can’t ignore because the other person is getting into our space and basically not allowing us to ignore them. I feel like children have the same rights that adults do in those situations.

  74. E January 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    @That_Susan — Perhaps we’re being capt obvious here, but I continually say that social media plays into SO many differences in the adolescent experience. You clique/peer group was limited to who you spoke in person and who you spoke to on the phone. Sure, you got gossip that was handed down the line, but you didn’t have any direct view into other cliques.

    That is no longer the case. Whether it be interpersonal beefs, romantic triangles, social events, it’s casting a much wider net. I also think some things are normalized when they “see” (via social media) other teens doing things that might not otherwise land in their friend group.

    I know my own son would go to the movies and I’d ask “who went?” and he’s list off a HUGE group. Groups the size that I never ever traveled in.

    I’d also suggest that parents aren’t always aware (despite their best efforts) with what is going on in that regard. I know I stumbled on a FB ‘fued’ that one of my boys was having over a girl he liked and a kid at another school and I was stunned to see that this was how it worked and the hostile language used. That was actually when we moved a PC out of an extra bedroom and into a public space. Of course, that was before smart phones (and my kids are grown now) so it would be very difficult if your kid didn’t choose to follow your own examples. (They don’t always do that.)

  75. That_Susan January 5, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    E, my kids are definitely not carbon copies of me. And my older daughter’s very outspoken…she had a little bitty girl in P.E. class tell her one time that she better “watch her back,” and she said, “What are you gonna do — bark at me?” (My daughter is very tall, as is our whole family). But she has zero interest in physical altercations. She has a plan in mind, if anybody ever tries to engage her that way; she said she’ll just curl up into a fetal ball on the floor. She started school two years ago in the 8th grade after homeschooling up to then, and thus far, she’s been pissed off at some people and some have been pissed off at her, but it’s never gotten physical.

    I was much more the sort to bend over backwards to get along with everybody…at the beginning of her first year at school, a kid told her that the seat she took on the bus was the one some older kids always sat in, but she just stayed where she was (I would have moved) and nothing ever came of it. She definitely didn’t learn that from me. 🙂 But her confidence has served her well…she doesn’t get picked on anywhere near as much as I did at that age.

  76. Joanne January 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    This is absurd – I worked in a Mall before I was 17 y/o – if you are old enough to work there, you are old enough to be accompanied there and held accountable for your behavior – sounds like the cop wants the Mall to enforce its ridiculous policy to save his PD from doing their jobs – the Mall policy is unenforceable due to its infringement on civil rights

    Depriving children of age-appropriate independence breeds anxious, insecure, indecisive adults completely lacking in self-confidence & common sense – it is an injustice to this generation of kids so much moreso than parents or anyone else

    How did everyone survive in the 70s, 80s & 90s? Our parents left us in cars, latchkeyed us, dropped us off at the mall & even allowed us to stay home when they went out – these experiences allow kids to develop life skills to draw on for years to come and are so very important – what is the matter with society today?! Why waste so much time, effort & energy on micromanaging parenting? Why not focus that effort on addressing the many real problems our country faces?