Many Americans believe kids as old as 12 need adult supervision if they're going to play in public places, indoors or outside, according to a new poll that found a high number of people would support laws making it illegal to allow a 9-year-old to play unsupervised at the park.
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The polls come as news outlets like U.S. News and World Reports are noting an uptick in parents arrested for letting their children do things without supervision.
Writes Tierney Sneed, "Mothers arrested in Florida and South Carolina in recent weeks are the latest in an ongoing trend of parents seeing legal punishment for letting their children play or travel in public unsupervised. The former was charged with child neglect by local authorities for letting her 7-year-old son walk to a park half a mile from their home by himself (the mother later told WPTV that a Florida Department of Children and Families official informed her the charges would likely be dropped). In South Carolina, the woman — a single mom who let her 9-year-old daughter play in a nearby park unattended while she worked her shift at McDonald's — served 17 days in jail and, if convicted of felony child neglect, could face 10 years in prison."
The recent Reasons-Rupe survey, conducted by phone in August, asked 1,000 adults about child safety issues. The pollsters found 82 percent of Americans would support a law to require supervision of kids 9 and under playing in public parks. And 63 percent said that 12 years old is too young to play without supervision.
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