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6. Kids playing on playground unattended

Kids playing on playground

An accusatory spotlight has been recently shone on parents who have – gasp – allowed their kids play at a playground unattended. Yes, the world can be a scary place sometimes – or all the time when you’re constantly connected to a 24-hour news stream of negative reports. But denying a generation of children the opportunity to solve their own playground squabbles isn’t the answer, as it also means sending adults out into the world who won’t have the ability to change it for the better.

However, some “free-range” parents, as they’re called, who allow children to play alone or walk home alone from school have ended up in trouble with the law. Kids are ending up in Children’s Protective Services and parents investigated for neglect.

Penalties for neglect range from fines to jail time, probation and even loss of legal custody of a child. For instance, in South Carolina a woman whose 9-year-old child played at nearby park served 17 days in jail and faced 10 years in jail if convicted of felony child neglect.

While no one wants real child neglect to be overlooked, children should be able to play independently in safe environments without helicopter parents attending to their every need.

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