Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Image's

Teenagers and the malls, they seem to go together like a hand and glove. In recent years malls have become the place for teens to socialize, that is when they socialize face to face. But, all to often it seems not to end very well.

When teenagers began to hang at the mall on Friday nights sometime back it seemed like such a good idea..  The kids had someplace to go, parents knew where the kids were and merchants had a built in customer base, or so it seemed.  The reality was soon apparent, the kids showed up with empty pockets and ran amuck, scaring away the customer with cash.  Groups of kids would troll the stores and before long there were fights in the food courts.

The day after Christmas has become a favorite for teens at the mall.  The young ones, armed with Christmas cash and gift cards, flood the malls and in recent years what began as a hunt for bargains has turned into violent mall confrontations. This year was no exception as mostly young males horrified shoppers and merchants alike by duking it out in at least a dozen malls across the country.  The Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, California was one exception.

Following a post-Christmas melee last year, officials at the Arden Fair Mall adopted a policy to deal with what they call "unaccompanied teens," those kids whose parents drop them off at the mall and drive away leaving them to terrorize the general population.  The policy prohibits  minor children from entering the mall unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.  The policy was invoked on Monday and Arden Fair reported only two minor scuffles, one inside and one outside the mall. Mall officials say they invoke the rule from time to time on busy days and it has worked to reduce problems.

Policies such as this one can go along way towards making the mall experience enjoyable again for everyone but parents have to understand that malls are about commerce and were not mean to to be the community babysitter.

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