Ride-Sharing and Underaged Teens: The Dangers Are Real
Ride-shares like Uber and Lyft have become a part of our lives, but what happens when underaged kids are requesting rides without their parents knowing? A new report showcases the dangers teens are putting themselves in without even knowing it.
Two weeks ago, The New York Times covered the story of a 16-year-old based in Long Island, New York who ordered an Uber after trying to get home from a party. The driver attempted to sexually assault her, but she managed to run away and asked for help at a nearby fast-food restaurant. Thankfully, she escaped a harmful situation.
The reality is that underaged kids aren't legally allowed to get into ride-shares, but due to the demand for customers, lack of parental guidance, and easy access to cellphones, teens and young kids are ordering these rides totally on their own without knowing the consequences. To address liability concerns, Lyft and Uber have shared their minor policy in their terms of services.
A Lyft spokesperson told Vox, “Children are welcome to join adult passengers in a ride but are not permitted to ride alone in a Lyft vehicle.” In addition, drivers' ratings are not negatively impacted if they refuse to drive a minor. Drivers are also able to report such requests in their "Contact Support" section in the app.
Is the fine print and actions being taken by these ride-share companies really doing enough to protect our kids? Or is the question, what else can we be doing as parents to ensure that kids skip out on these rides and use the old-fashioned way of getting around (i.e. skates, bus, bike)? With more of these cases being reported, families should know the dangers that exist and talk about a family plan to keep their child/children safe.