Whatever comes to mind: Child supervision prevents loss of innocence

Whatever Comes To MindBy George Flynn | Opinions Editor

Children are a gift to the world. They must be cherished and loved. They must be raised as the new leaders of America, as they will take our place and bring about new generations to improve the world we grew up in. However, children must always be watched. Supervision can be viewed as the most important factor in raising a child. The worst can happen if a child is not looked after, especially between the ages of 0 – 6.

Different things can occur when a child is not properly supervised: death, abduction, murder and sexual exploitation. In recent events, Sharon Flanagan of West Virginia was charged with homicide for the death of her two-year-old son. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Flanagan found her son lifeless in the bathtub of a hotel room in Green Tree.

“I know I wasn’t in there when he needed me, and I’ll know that for the rest of my life” Flanagan said.

According to her original statement, she did not kill her son intentionally, but she left him unattended and she is paying the price for it, regardless or her sentence. She will either be imprisoned or simply have to live with the death of her son for the rest of her life.

Flanagan is definitely not the only person to lose a child to drowning because of a lack of supervision. A statement written in 2012 by the Drescher Law Firm, LLC said drowning was the leading cause of young child death. “It is the leading cause of death among children age 1 – 4 according to the MUSC [Medical University of South Carolina] Health.”

Flanagan has lost her son to a tragic incident. Unfortunately, she is not the first and she won’t be the last. In this country, we see child abductions and death way too often.

In 1979, Etan Patz, a six-year-old boy left his parents’ home in New York City to go to school. He never made it. After years of investigating his disappearance, he was declared dead in 2001. Six year old JonBenét Ramsey was found murdered in her home on Christmas in 1996. Children easily become victims if they are not watched constantly.

Children are constantly going missing or falling into bad hands due to a lack of child supervision. Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard were lucky to survive their abductions, despite psychological issues tied with them; however thousands of children stay missing and never return.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children under the age of 18 were reported missing in 1999. This number has risen a great deal in the past 14 years, with names on the list such as Natalie Holloway, Madeleine McCann and Lisa Irwin. If child supervision rises, these cases of abductions and disappearances could decrease. If there was more supervision on Holloway during her trip to Aruba, she might still be here. McCann might be leading a normal life if she was not left in the hotel room while her parents were bathing in the sun while they were on vacation.

However, at a certain age, children do not need constant supervision from a parent, guardian or babysitter. A child between the ages of birth and 4 years old needs to be under constant supervision, as a sixteen year old is able to stay at home by him or herself for a night. According to Family and Children Services website, children between the ages of 5 – 7 are usually able to walk to school by themselves. Supervision for age groups change as they continue to grow, but guardians must be aware of their surrounding areas and what can happen.

The new generation of children must be protected, and their innocence shielded. If they are not supervised incessantly, things can go horribly wrong. Parents can be imprisoned for turning an eye for a moment. Parents can be forced to search for their child for years if they go missing. Loving a child is imperative, but keeping an eye on them is the most important part of raising a family. Children should never lose their lives or have their innocence taken away.

George Flynn is a senior English major and can be reached at flynng@duq.edu.