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Image / Editorial

Opinion: ‘Keep your kids and teens at home. It’s time for parents to step up’

by Grace McGettigan
27th Mar 2020

Boredom is not a reason to go outside with pals, nor is wanting to see a boyfriend or girlfriend. Parents need to step up and keep their kids at home

At this very moment, through my bedroom window, I can see a group of children playing outside and a gang of teenagers congregating down the street.

I can’t wrap my head around why their parents are allowing them out of the house. The messaging from health officials all over the world has never been so clear: stay at home, avoid unnecessary social interactions and save lives in the process.

Boredom is not a reason to go outside with pals. Visiting friends because you trust them to have washed their hands is not a reason either. Nor is going out to see a boyfriend or girlfriend.

People can be silent carriers of Covid-19 for up to two weeks. In Iceland, half the people who have tested positive (so far) had no symptoms at all. You have no way of knowing if your friends, or your child’s playmates, are infected. Why take the risk?

Given the fact that 22 people in the Republic of Ireland have already died from the coronavirus, staying at home has never been more vital. The expert warnings need to be taken seriously, and the responsibility to slow down the spread lies with us.


Let’s say, for the sake of argument, your child or teenager picks up Covid-19. The HSE will ask you for a list of contacts they’ve been in touch with – how long is your list going to be?

Do you want the embarrassment of telling the HSE you’ve been ignoring their advice for weeks? That you felt you knew better than them, that you didn’t want your little one feeling bored, so figured it was worth the risk?

On that note – do you know what your children are up to while they’re outside? Do you know where they go, what they do? There has been an increasing number of reports (from all over the country) of young children and teenagers coughing and spitting at passers-by ‘for fun’.

The Gardaí have been spat at. The Minister for Health was purposely coughed on, and older people who are attempting to collect essentials from the pharmacy are being chased by kids doing the same. Aside from the fact it’s shameful and disgusting behaviour, it’s also incredibly dangerous and potentially life-threatening amid a global pandemic. Don’t let your child or teenager be one of them.

Follow the rules

In the past 24 hours, 769 people have died from Covid-19 in Spain. If Irish people don’t start taking this seriously, we may face the same fate.

Protect yourselves and your families by following these clear and simple guidelines from the HSE:

– Stay at home. Only leave the house to go to work (and work from home where possible), shop for necessities such as food and medicine, or exercise (which should only be done alone or with the people you live with).

– Social distancing means minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals. Keep a space of two metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people, and reduce the number of people you meet every day by staying at home.

– Anyone who has symptoms (including a cough, high temperature and/or breathing problems) should behave as if they have the virus and self-isolate for 14 days.

For more information, visit

Feature photo: Anny Patterson, Pexels

Read more: What it’s like to have your wedding cancelled due to coronavirus

Read more: Working from home tips and tricks, as recommended by IMAGE readers

Read more: 6 things I’ll never take for granted again once this crisis is over

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