My boys and I were at the mall and we stopped so they could play in the mall centre play place. We walked up to the centre to see a few kids playing and a couple of parents standing around. Of course I didn't know what children belonged to what parents so I didn't think much of it. There was a young boy (probably 10) sitting with his back to the group, playing at a station and another little girl (maybe 5) playing by herself. I was there for just a few minutes when the little girl who had a sticker with her name printed on it stuck to her shirt came over to talk to me. She said she liked my shoes and she asked if I was babysitting. I talked with her for a few minutes and then saw a couple walk down the hall of the mall towards the play centre and stop to talk to the boy who was playing at the station. They asked him if everything was ok (how would he know, he had his nose stuck into his game) and then reminded him that he was in charge of his sister, who I had since deduced was the little girl I was talking to, and then turned to walk away. I assumed they would pop into a store close by and then come back to watch their children, like the rest of us were doing. That unfortunately wasn't the case. I watched them walk the length of the long hallway, just waiting for them to duck into a store that left the play centre visible but they kept walking, eventually turned the corner and were gone. I was there for another good 15 minutes and they didn't return in that time. The little girl, with her name still visible, just played while her brother-in-charge sat playing his game, never turning to look at her.
While I was driving home and the seriousness of what I had just witnessed sunk in I regretted that I had not gone to security and reported that young children had been left at the play place. I mean, I really should have, no? I don't know, to me leaving your 2 young kids at the mall play place (one with their NAME on their shirt) is just completely negligent. When I think of how freely that little girl conversed with me it would not have taken much for someone to walk up to her, call her by name and tell her to come with them.
Tell me, what would you have done? Notified security? Left it alone? Am I just an overly concerned and protective parent who is making a bigger deal of this than is necessary? At 10 years old is a child responsible enough to watch over himself and a younger sibling in a public place? I just can't see myself leaving my kids, even the oldest at 10, in a mall somewhere while I walk out of sight. What do you think about it all?