I've written about this once before but since becoming a mom, and also with the murder and kidnapping of Sandra Cantu, I notice even more when little kids ride on BART alone. I don't mean 8-10 year olds, I actually mean those 6 or under. I can't believe there are still little kids, who appear to be 6 or 7, riding on BART solo. A sweet old woman asked one kid whether he is heading to school, and he said yes, kindergarten. That's how I estimated his age. How can a little 6 year old be left alone to ride on BART? There are plenty of suspicious characters on BART, or actually, everywhere, and this little boy is supposed to know how to determine who is good or bad? Even if his parents have taught him to not talk to strangers, it's not a 6 year old's responsibility to protect himself in public, not fully, not yet.
Parents may need to work but no matter how busy they are, one of them should at least be responsible for transporting the child to school, or else, enroll at a closer school!
I wonder how many little kids ride alone on BART. I hope nothing bad ever happens to any of them.
No, six is NOT too young to ride transit. Parents need to teach children at an early age how to use transit. The Cantu incident conversely appears to have involved someone well known to the victim, NOT a random creep on public transit.
don't know about you #1, but i never rode BART at the age of 6. i would never let me kids ride BART that young either. sandra cantu us just one example - i bet if you polled parents, 99 out of 100 would not let their kids ride BART at age 6 either.
are you kidding me? i would never ever ever leave my 6 year old boy navigating BART or any other public transport on his own. not at that age. way too young. you are much too trusting of the stations and the surrounding environment.
As a parent of a first and fourth grader, I find this shocking. I certainly wouldn't let my first grader ride alone. I'd have to see a lot of maturity from the fourth grader before I'd give him the OK as well.
Keep this in mind: most kindergartners cannot read yet, or at best read a few words and slowly at that. The biggest kindergartner is still small enough that just about any adult can pick them up and subdue them.
If I saw a child that young alone on BART I'd call the police.
Parents these days are too protective. Kids need to learn independence. They can learn to do what you allow them to do. Six year olds can be responsible if you've taught them right. Don't underestimate them.
Six is too young. I would be more worried about older kids approaching my six-year old than I would be about some stranger abduction. Letting a young child ride public transit alone is irresponsible.
I agree with anon#6 that a six year old can be taught to do many more things than most parents are comfortable with lettting them do.
When I was in the first grade my kindergarten age sister and I used to walk my youngest sister to daycare before walking to school ourselves. It was quite common back then (mid 60's).
However I would have never allowed my own daughter to do something like that at that age.
I don't think it's a more dangerous world today. We just get so much more information today and it makes the world seem like a much scarier place. A result of the "if it bleed it leads" policy of mass media is my guess.
Most parents, including me, will err on the side of caution and will not allow their six year olds to ride public transit alone.
My biggest concern wouldn't be that some creep is going to kidnap or molest the child. My biggest concern is that the child gets lost or misses his stop. Maybe he even knows where to go when things go right, but does he know what to do when things go wrong? Or let's say some stranger starts talking to the child? Like I said, a kidnapping is an unlikely event, but unfamiliar situations can be scary. If the child got lost and didn't know how to get home, that could be *very* traumatizing.
As a grown woman I have been attacked verbally and physically on BART. I have been flashed on BART. I have had strange people ask me for lurid things ON BART. I'm a grown woman. Now what happens if they decide to do those things to a 6 year old? I'm a mother of three and I have only JUST let my 14 year old ride BART alone. No, I am not "too protective". I've been riding public transportation ALL MY LIFE (over 40 years old) a thus I am well aware of what can and DOES happen. The anonymous person okay with this should really rethinking their decision-making capacities. Seriously.
I'm guessing that this wasn't the boys first time riding the BART to school. It's quite likely his parent went through it with him several times, making sure to go over all the safety precautions, before letting him go individually. As for kids who don't routinely ride the BART, six is probably too young. At that stage, children have just started developing problem solving skills, many struggle to read, and quite a few must lack social skills. I think it also depends on the child. I remember developing thought processing skills about half way through the second age, roughly around the age of eight. But some kids might be a bit slower, and probably shouldn't be alone on public transportation for a while. Really, I think it is for the parent to decide
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