Are the new mall and shopping center curfews for teens justified?

HIGH SCHOOLERS in New Jersey are kicked out of a mall after certain hours without a guardian. (New York Post)

Kat Piantka | News Editor

February 29, 2024

Many can attest that a public outing to the local mall or shopping center is now infested by the privileged, disrespectful, and immature youth of this generation. This creates chaos in public settings as adults are only becoming more enraged by this uncontrollable behavior. Stores in cities throughout the nation such as a Target in Bakersfield and the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance are also experiencing similar troubling behavior from minors; and the only believed way to restore a positive family-friendly atmosphere is to establish regulations that “require children under the age of 18 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian…after 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays” (NBC Los Angeles). These restrictions are now beginning to influence other stores, as they are now applying these regulations to some popular hangout spots for minors such as “shopping centers, amusement parks, and even a few restaurants…have implemented similar policies in the last few months,” (AP News). It is the hope that these restrictions would make public outings to local shopping centers and malls much more pleasant without confrontation from the obnoxious tweens and teenagers who scream, run, loiter, post on social media, and even raise fights that need police intervention.

While these new restrictions will improve shopping centers in communities, they jeopardize innocent minors who should not be held responsible for the faults of others. The news of these regulations are encouraging malls and stores throughout the state and nation to follow in their footsteps– and one can only hope that San Clemente and Orange County will not be affected. These new rules generate frustration among adults, as their children’s independence is limited, and teens who once relied on malls as places to spend with their friends are now only available with restrictions. The small minority of disrespectful children are the only ones who should be held accountable for interfering with the family-friendly shopping experience, as opposed to limiting all minors from being able to enjoy this fun pastime at designated times. 

DEL AMO FASHION CENTER placing restrictions on when minors can shop unaccompanied by adults. (RSM Design)

Minors in San Clemente and Orange County alike need to become aware of these new regulations that are affecting malls and stores throughout the nation and in Southern California– for we may start also being restricted, as the public is only growing more aggravated by the chaos created by the younger generation. Sophomore Myla Pert argued that, “not all minors are like that…it should not be a stereotype put onto them.” However, Myla does believe that if “they are bothersome in a public space then they should not take offense [if they are] called out” which is often these nuisances’ first reaction. 

A reasonable modification to these new regulations would be only to only restrict minors under 15 years of age, since children older are more mature, self-aware, and responsible compared to those younger. If teenagers of this age can become permitted drivers and get licensed to operate on the road, they should be allowed in stores without adult supervision. Sophomore Reese Tremper’s opinion on the new rules is that “they should not be put in place” because there are other ways to regulate their behavior. For instance, if a minor is not accompanied by adults they should “always be respectful to the business and employees, and if they ever are rude or disrespectful to the store or company they have the right to remove them if needed.” However, this approach is not always successful.

San Clemente and Orange County shopping centers could fall to the growing popularity of these regulations if these minors do not reflect and learn how to act properly in public to conserve a family-friendly environment for all. 

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