Oh, sure, send the child alone and get a taste of real life! And while you’re at it, just before you send your 12-year-old down there into the subway station alone, make sure you paste a great big sign on the child’s back with one or more of the following messages:
1. I’m 12 years old, all alone, and haven’t a clue about how to protect myself.
2. I’m carrying exactly $50 in my pocket for school lunch and for doing some shopping later all by myself at the mall.
3. I’m willing to go with any sexual predator who buys me an ice cream cone or a candy bar.
4. I really enjoy being beaten up by older kids, especially if they’re big, tough gangbangers.
5. If my loving parents don’t give a damn about my safety here on the station platform, why should I worry?
It’s really no joking matter. The question shouldn’t even be asked. It certainly is not safe to send a 12-year-old child alone in New York City’s subway. And further, not only the Big Apple that can boast of that dangerous distinction.
You wouldn’t want to send a child of that age alone on London’s Tube, the Paris Metro, Chicago’s El or whatever they call the Moscow or Tokyo subway. Or for that matter, on most other big city underground or overground public transportation systems.
The 12-year-old child may be very bright, and is able to follow all parental instructions about fares, stops, destinations, connections to other transportation and other important travel information. In fact, most children of that age are usually much more skilled in the mysteries of computers, cell phones and the internet than their parents will ever be. However, there is the critical matter of maturity, and for want of another phrase, the need for intelligent distrust.
Many predators use the public transportation systems of big cities, and certainly not only New York, to commit their crimes. Whether it is a simple strong-arm robbery, sexual molestations, drug sales, or worse, kidnapping and abductions, the lawless opportunists are always there, ready to strike. There’s no situation of any kind when a 12-year-old child should travel alone on the subway, nor for that matter even together with two or three others of the same age. It is simply not worth taking a chance on their safety.
If parents or other adults can’t accompany a child on the subway, they should make arrangements for the child to use taxis or other forms of safe city transportation. With one parent or older teen along to protect the child, riding the subway may be permitted, but that’s no absolute guarantee of safety. However, taking along a cell phone or other instant 911 digital calling system can help make the ride as safe as possible.