Social Question

jca's avatar

If you were at a playground and saw teenagers playing around and doing things that could potentially harm the equipment or other children, what would you do, if anything?

Asked by jca (36062points) April 20th, 2015

I was at a playground yesterday (late on a Sunday afternoon) with my 7 year old and two adult friends. There were a bunch of children and their parents and there were also two groups of teens hanging around. One bunch of teens were climbing on the outside of this wooden structure, probably 20 feet above ground level. It is a structure where kids can climb up inside it and around on a balcony type thing. It’s definitely not intended for people to climb on the outside of it. If one of the teens fell off, they could land on a kid or of course, injure themselves.

There’s also a zip line contraption where kids can pull themselves up onto a hanging thing that slides along a zip line. The thing has a sign that specifies that it’s for 3 to 12 year olds. There were 3 guys, probably 15 years old each, so probably about 150 lbs if I were to guess. 3 of them were hanging on the thing at once. If it’s made for 12 years old, maximum, then I would guess it’s made for maybe 120 lbs, maybe, since it’s probably made well, it can carry 200 lbs, tops. 3×150 = 450 lbs. Too much.

If you saw stuff like that happening, what would you do, if anything?

I will post later what I did and what my opinions are. I don’t want to taint the thread before hearing what other people have to say.

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18 Answers

hominid's avatar

I have booted teenagers from playgrounds 3 times.

Stinley's avatar

I’d like to think I would say something but I suspect I would only say something 1 time out of 5 or so. I’m not great at confrontation. I might be a little passive aggressive and move into the area that they were using with my kid and start using the equipment, in order to encourage them to move on.

JLeslie's avatar

I’d say something to them unless I thought I would be in danger. I think it would be a rare case I would perceive danger, but if it was a fairly large group of rowdy male teens I might think twice.

I do stuff like that all the time. My husband hates it. I’ve told three groups of 20 somethings not to bring glass bottles into the pool when I lived in my apartment recently. Although, I stifled about that exact same thing at a resort in Orlando several years ago.

I doubt I would call the police, but it is a possible option. Not 911, but the local police, and describe what’s going on, and ask who is the proper person to call with my concerns. I’m not looking to get the teens in trouble or arrested, just make them aware of some sort of authority presence so they follow the rules.

zenvelo's avatar

The operative words in this question are “potentially harm”; not actually harm or damage. You speculated on the strength of the structure. But a well designed playground is much more resilient.

Remember that it is designed for the possibility of three or four adults with their kids, that if it is accessible then it is able to stand the weight.

If I saw them on the zip line thing, I’d say something, but not a condemnation.

longgone's avatar

I’m torn on this.

If the teens were harassing any of the younger kids or putting themselves in danger, I’d definitely tell them off. I would even call the police in that case, if necessary.

On the other hand, I was a teen not too long ago. The playgrounds around here are targeted at under 14-year-olds. I often spent time on playgrounds even as an older teen, because my friends and I still liked to play some of our active childhood games. We were extremely careful not to disturb any of the small children, but we did get some dirty looks from parents just because of our age.

I’m happy to see active teens, outside with their friends, having fun. I’d much rather have them climbing and running around than sitting at home, playing video games. It’s very possible they just don’t quite want to grow up yet, and enjoy the moratorium their childhood playground provides.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’d have said something. First, I wouldn’t want them to fall off and hurt themselves but if they were also putting other children at risk, they may not even have thought about that.

ucme's avatar

Been there, done that, got the tee shirt.
Sometimes they leave quietly after a polite but firm request to behave, on a couple of occasions however, I got verbal abuse, they were seen off with a glare & a “fuck off”
whispered menacingly in their ear.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A year ago, I went to a local park. There were about five male teens using the bandstand and a generic fiberboard table propped against its railing as a skateboard ramp. There was little hesitation in approaching the boys once the table started to fall apart. They weren’t interested in my concerns about their well-being and destroying private property. I high-tailed it back to my car and then walked over to a group of bikers camped out slightly farther away. Upon asking them if they had my back, one said, “Yeah, and we already called the police.” Two guys in uniform on bikes showed up a few minutes later and took care of the issue.

So yes, I don’t have a problem with confrontation when it comes to this type of situation. The challenge is, be it with a child or adult, it takes a certain level of respect in order to change ones’ actions. In this case, being an elder, and possibly female, didn’t. It took someone in uniform to put an end to it. Had it been one of their mothers confronting the group, I bet it would have netted a different result than I received because she most likely holds personal respect in at least one of the culprits.

jca's avatar

The three guys on the zip line thing made me mad, because the zip line was sagging under the weight of all three of them hanging on it at once (my FB friends, I will shortly post a pic of my daughter on the thing). I started yelling at them (I said something like “Do you think that maybe you should be more respectful and not all ride on that thing at once?” One of the boys said “yeah.”) and then they continued to ride on it, but no longer 3 at a time. Then my daughter wanted to go on it (which was the whole reason we went to the park, because she loves that thing. She said “I’m scared.” One of the people I was with was teasing me and saying to me, “you’re not the Playground Police.” I was not happy that my kid was afraid because of the big guys. My friend walked her over to the zip line and they got off it, as I expected they would.

Later on, other teens were crawling on the outside of the wooden structure. I was not worried about that thing collapsing, @zenvelo, I was more afraid of them falling off it and either landing on a kid (who would have been on the balcony below) or hurting themselves. To them, I said nothing. They weren’t on it long.

Times when my daughter was a toddler and we were in the play area at the mall, there’d be bigger kids jumping off the structures there (bigger kids at that area were like 10, which, in that area, was too big to be jumping off things as the mall play area is made for smaller kids with a maximum height of about 40 inches). The kids get carried away, as kids would. I would tell them they were not supposed to be jumping off the things as they might land on a little kid. Their parents would sit there, paying no attention to anything.

anniereborn's avatar

I would only say anything if there were actually kids in their vicinity or they were on equipment that my kid wanted to use.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

I’d go “Bostonian” on them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think I would have said something about the zip line, but probably would have let the rest go. It’s hard to answer without having actually seen it.

talljasperman's avatar

I would design parks for older children so they would have a place to play.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Mostly I would say not, these days the teens might attempt to assault you. That would set up a lose-lose situation, if you do nothing, you may end up in the ER, if you defend yourself, you end up in jail—even if they (the teens) started it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That would hold no allure @talljasperman. I remember going to the park a couple of times and swinging on the swings when I was 16, and doing all the silly stuff I did when I was a kid, like jumping off at the apex of the swing. I was just remembering those lost days.

talljasperman's avatar

@Dutchess_lll I would like to swing but I don’t want to be confused to be a pedophile.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, not a good plan as a full adult.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Tell them the truth , that you are afraid for your children from getting hurt while they “play” inappropriately in an area not suitable for there age.Tell them that they are scarring the kids.
I mentioned that to teenagers on the street when they did not realize that the youngest ones were in fact terrified. They appoligised to the young kids and calmed down and left.

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