Sleepovers. They can be tons of fun for kids and a great night off for parents. Or they can turn into an uncomfortable, unsafe, or even downright dangerous evening when children are left unsupervised or, worse, when the supervising adult behaves inappropriately.
If you missed our first article about the potential danger of sleepovers, here's a quick recap:
- At sleepovers, family doesn't equal safety. Many, many cases of child molestation happen where the child knows their attacker.
- Standards vary from home to home. As a guest, your child is placed in an environment that may have standards that are drastically different from your own.
- Sometimes other kids are the problem. Supervising adults eventually go to sleep, and children want to impress their friends--sometimes in questionable ways.
- Experimentation is more likely to occur. When children know that they will not have to face their parents until the next day, they may be more likely to experiment with things they shouldn't like drugs, alcohol, or sex.
Parents have come down on both sides of the issue, many pointing out experiences they've had with sleepovers (both good and bad) to support each side. Here are just a few:
"When I was young, I went to sleep overs at my best friend's house. It was just her and me, and we always had fun. Or we had sleep overs as a YW activity every once in a while at our YW leaders home. Her husband and sons went to his parent's for that night, so it was just us girls. We would teach each other how to braid hair, watch movies or just talk all night. We started with a little spiritual thought and had prayer together before the first ones fell asleep. We always liked it and it bonded us together."
"I was exposed to pornography at a sleep over when I was just 13. [. . .] The family I stayed with seemed like the ideal LDS family: they just weren't aware of what their son did when his parents went to sleep, or what kind of channels they had on their TV. Just be careful and make it a priority to know who your kids are staying with and what they will be doing. Even asking for a report of what happened at the sleep over wouldn't be a bad thing."
"I grew up being able to go to sleepovers, and nothing bad ever came from it, thankfully, but I know of experiences my friends have had, and I cannot bear the thought of letting my children be exposed to that kind of thing, especially through any negligence of my own."
"In all honesty, I've never understood the point of a sleepover in the first place! [. . .] Why go to a party where you are going to be asleep for the majority of the time that you are there? They just never made sense to me. I really think that you can accomplish the same amount of fun and excitement having a late over as you can with a sleepover without having to compromise safety."
After hearing the debate, where do you stand? Should we reconsider sleepovers? Have you? Take the poll below, and then let us know more about your opinion in the comments.