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Kids Home Alone

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I feel very frightened at times.

I run a company where we call our existing customers to book regular service calls, and we need to speak to the adults.

What scares me? The number of children, at very young ages, who are home alone, answer the phone, and tell you mummy and daddy are not home and won't be back until such and such a time. Perfect opportunity for someone with bad intentions.

Why have their parents not educated them against this? Why don't they say...Mummy is in the shower? Why are they answering the phone at all??? And - why are they Home Alone?

I have (maybe) been paranoid about this sort of thing with my children as they were (are) growing up. They are confident, capable, secure young adults/teens now, who don't appear to have suffered from my care of them.

BUT...a 4 year old answers the phone "Mummy and Daddy won't be home till 6" could be an invitation for all kinds of horrible outcomes. How much does it take to convince someone so young to give out all sorts of information that could end in harm to them?
Not much.

It drives me nuts.

Rant over.

(I've been on the phones all day and out of 150 calls, I reckon I've had 10% where a badly intentioned person could have really taken advantage of it).
Aaargh:mad:
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #2 of 12
I think the worst case things are rare. I do worry as well, though. I think young kids should be told to not answer the phone unless they know for sure who is calling.
post #3 of 12
When we first started leaving our kids alone at home for short times (Half an hour while I ran to the grocery store and back) they were told not to answer the phone unless it was Oma or Daddy and to always check the call display. Now that they're older (teenagers) we don't mind if they answer the phone to anyone but we've taught them to say that "mom (or dad) is very busy right now, can she(he) call you back?" instead of telling them we're not home.
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #4 of 12
There is no legal lowest age limit for leaving children alone in the UK - but every year, many people are prosecuted for doing just that, when the children have got into difficulties.. Here's the UK website with advice re leaving children alone in the house.

Leaving children at home alone : Directgov - Parents

PS - Mine were 14 before they were allowed to stay at home on their own!
post #5 of 12
I'd call the police and give them the contact information.
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure 10 is the age here when you are "allowed" to leave kids home alone - but it's not a physical age - it's a mental age. If the child if mature for their years, and well informed as to what they can and can't do to keep them safe, then THAT should be the guide.

When I get them on the phone, and you can hear the extreme youth in their voice, if I were religious, I'd pray to the powers that be that nothing bad will happen to them. I let them know who I am, make sure I speak so as to make them feel safe. But I roll my eyes afterwards at their parents/guardians (!) for not either (a) being there or having a carer there, or (b) not educating them properly to protect them.

And as I call our customers several times every year - I can guess when I see the place I am calling that those children will be alone. Been doing this for 8 years, I know my customer base.

There's been the odd time where I've had to go out for 10 minutes whilst my 2 were young - we live in a real world where stuff happens like that - but they were read the riot act before I went.

It frustrates the heck out of me.

Ishbel, excellent link - every parent should read it.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #7 of 12
I suspect that most good parents in the UK DO read it, DC. The troubling thing is: those whose kids are at risk probably won't.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
The good parents will read it, the bad....well, therein lies the problem. I know a lot of the time it comes from financial strain, both/the single parent/s having no choice but to have to work and leave the kids unsupervised. That's why I've worked from home for the last 8 years - finances haven't allowed for that sort of level of affording child care, and my business can be done that way. In that manner I have been lucky.

Not everyone has that choice. I just wish they would educate the young ones who they have brought into the world.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #9 of 12
I think most of what was said on that link is just common sence really, however most people and parents just dont have any of that :mad:
I was shocked a few weeks ago when my neighbour came over, leaving her two year old and her 6 month old at home (I thought thats fine she is just right next door) but then she had to go to the shops quickly and left them there :rolleyes: I was shocked that someone would do that with such young children.
post #10 of 12
She left a 2 y/o and 6 month-old alone! Does the mother expect a 2 y/o to care for the baby! And she went to the store...:eek: Too many things could have happened. If something had happened, she would have been charged with negligence, at the very least.

I just saw a program about something like this.

The program advised parents to treat their children like they treat their dogs
post #11 of 12
I was shocked a few weeks ago when my neighbour came over, leaving her two year old and her 6 month old at home (I thought thats fine she is just right next door) but then she had to go to the shops quickly and left them there :rolleyes: I was shocked that someone would do that with such young children.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
That is shocking parenting. In fact, it's not even parenting - that behaviour doesn't deserve the right to be called that.

We need licenses and training to drive cars, operate certain machinery etc etc. But parenting? I wish it were so.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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