Would you have mentioned guest leaving 11 year old alone from 9pm-1am?

The guest was here for her college reunion. We noticed on the Ring that she left the house by herself at 9pm and returned at 1am.

Unless a babysitter snuck through the back door, then the 11 year-old was alone during this time.

We kept an eye on the Ring while she was gone to make sure she came back and no creepy people entered.

Nothing bad happened; the house was immaculate when she checked out.

I really debated whether I should say something in the private feedback but ultimately didn’t. I guess she knows her own child and many kids that age do have a mobile phone, but…?

FWIW, the boy was one of those kids who looks like a mini-adult with his buttoned up polo shirt and little round glasses.

That’s a difficult one, and in reality one to be decided on a case by case basis.

I’ve had this discussion over the years, with numerous folks, and it all ends up back at the McCanns.

Where we are, it’s not unusual to see folks out with their kids at midnight, at one, or even, during the ferias, at three or four in the morning. Never left at home, either on their own or with a babysitter, always out with the parents/family.

Eesch, this topic could easily be a hundred pager I suspect.


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Agreed that it depends on the kid. Did this happen in the USA? I know that American kids tend to be less mature than kids in other countries but eleven is hardly a baby. But it’s hard to know without knowing the kid - I’ve known German kids, for example, who have been fine left alone at seven or eight … but I don’t want to stereotype or start a European/ USA kid argument. And he doesn’t sound like the sort of kid who’d get up to anything anyway.

If the parents are fine with it, I don’t think it’s any of our business, quite frankly. If a guest’s behaviour bothers me, I talk to them about it to see what’s going on before mentioning it in private feedback. Face-to-face, you can read people.


My son was a “latch-key” kid from the age of 11. I was a single mother and couldn’t afford additional child-care. The most important thing, though, was that I trusted him and schooled him well on what was allowed and what was not. And to call me immediately if anything troubled him. He only ever called once when a cooking attempt went a bit wrong…

I agree with @jaquo that the USA seems to treat young people like babies and it is very strange to other countries. Sorry - not wanting to ignite that debate but it is a real thing.

Anyway, again I agree with her that it’s not your business. Nothing happened, they were good guests, so if you comment on it you’re just making a judgement on someone’s parenting style. And that wouldn’t be cool at all.


I totally agree with @jaquo and @Magwitch
It’s not your place to mention this. Nothing happened and the house was immaculate, right?

But is this what the “ring” is for? To me (who is very opposed to surveillance) it seems you violated their privacy and were snooping on your guests.
This is why I would never stay at house that has surveillance of any sorts because there’s always going to be people like this misusing the technology.
I totally get that some hosts prefer cameras I.e. for remote hosting etc but this seems to be a huge violation to me.

Is that your job? In all honesty this creeps me out and it seem very unlikely that “creepy people” would enter and that justifies your snooping and spying. Do you usually have problems with people sneaking in?

Stereotyping is always fun :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Funnily enough, while you were posting that and I was bumbling about in the kitchen, I was just thinking more or less exactly what you said. I find it very intrusive that hosts are watching guests’ every move.

It’s not because I ever do anything ‘wrong’ as a guest, it’s just the thought of being watched in case I do.

I’m from the UK so fully accustomed to my every move being monitored by CCTV which is pretty well everywhere over there and as an anti-terrorist or anti-crime move, that’s fine. But I wouldn’t want to think that some host is watching me every time I’m coming or going.

I’m sure that cameras are a great thing for some hosts. But yes, some people seem to overuse the ability to watch guests.

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The only purpose of the Ring is to prevent parties, extra guests and pets. I’m not watching guests’ every move.

It’s also good for preventing packages being stolen, AKA porch pirates.

The reunion at this particular university is notorious for heavy drinking and wildness. More beer is consumed during the reunion than at any other single event in the US.

Normally I don’t pay that much attention to the Ring when we have guests, other than verifying guest count. I was probably more vigilant during the reunion because I wanted to be sure the party stayed on campus.

The guest being 50-ish was no guarantee that she wouldn’t bring a party to my house. They serve the older alumni Manhattans, not just beer. The lawns become covered with vomit and passed out people of all ages.

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Everyone has different parenting styles. My son was mature for his age but I would never have dreamed of leaving him along for four hours in a strange place. He could have started a fire, locked himself out or been scared and unable to contact his mother because of poor phone reception or simply that the music was loud and she couldn’t hear the phone.

There is a difference between leaving your child home after school for a couple of hours in a home environment they are familiar with where they can get hold of you or a trusted adult easily, to leaving your child alone for four hours late at night in a strange place, so you can go to a school reunion. If I was in that situation I would have left my child with relatives or close friends so I could have attended or not gone.

In answer to the original question @GardenGnome unless you have something in your house rules that states that under 16’s (or whatever age) shouldn’t be left in the listing by themselves, I don’t think it is appropriate to comment.


No people have snuck in my house, but neighbors have had break-ins. I don’t know if the guest walked or drove when she went wherever she went. If she drove, there would be no car in the driveway. If the kid was asleep with the lights out, burglars might have though the house was unoccupied.

That’s why I personally would not have left an 11 year old alone at night in a single family house in an unfamiliar town.

The US is more dangerous than many places in Europe.

Not everything is black or white. From late elementary school, I let my kids run errands by themselves during the day both here, and in NYC. It’s about eyes on the street. Big difference between an afternoon with many people walking around in a nice city neighborhood and midnight on a quiet residential street with no lamps and a fair amount of space between houses.


I would not unless it was a shared space, which it sounds like this isn’t. I have seen stories of kids being left with the host to become the defacto babysitter (see the infamous squatter thread here from three years ago). In a self-contained unit, it is up for the family to decide if an 11-year-old is old enough to be left alone.


External security cameras are so common I don’t feel a host needs to defend their choice to have them.


I certainly don’t. Since I got my cameras my booking rate hasn’t changed so it’s not bothering enough people to matter to me. Interestingly I do most of my watching of guests through the window, not using cameras. Maybe cameras make it easier to watch guests but it was always possible. I used to have an across the street neighbor that was as watchful as any camera.

I wouldn’t say anything. However as I was thinking about it I asked myself this question: would I want someone to leave an 11 year old alone in my rental and the answer is no.


I had a guest who wrote in the review he didn’t like the cameras (covers the backdoor and inadvertently table setting) and that he felt spied upon eating Bfast. But hey thats what I do everyday sit at home on my phone watching guests eating Bfast :sleeping:.

Where is this reunion? I just want to be sure so I don’t stumble into it :wink:

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Me either and I wouldnt leave one of my kids like that. I always think what if the house burns down. Don’t think I could live with that.

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Don’t mean to be snarky but I am somewhat irritated at the subtle and not so subtle American put downs. If we put in snide comments about any other country or an ethnic group everyone would be jumping through hoops to explain how inappropriate it is to label a group for the actions of a few.

There is a danger of broad statements when trying to describe a nation that is over 3000 miles wide with a diverse population.

If you are in another country and are relating your experience with Americans traveling abroad please keep in mind that the percentage of Americans who travel abroad is very small and not indicative of the country as a whole. Why don’t more travel abroad? Personally, I often travel cross-country. I’d rather spend my $ traveling to relatives - if each state were a country I would have visited 7 different ones and the “culture” of each can be very different. That is one of the main reasons I live in the state I do - the culture is much more easy going than the one I grew up in.

As for American kids - if your main exposure has been to kids who have been traveling outside of their home country then I am not surprised if the parents are a bit more protective. It is scary to think of your kid lost in a country they might not know the language or customs. But, at least in my circle, most kids have cars by age 16 and many start babysitting or have lawn/odd jobs by age 11 or 12.

I don’t even want to get started about American being “more dangerous” than anywhere else…


I was too and used to spend a couple of hours by myself before she got home from work every day from maybe 7/8. I was babysitting at 11!

I wouldn’t mention it.

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I don’t see it as a put down to call kids from the US ‘less mature’ than their European counterparts.

I agree though children who are brought up in major cosmopolitan cities to liberal parents are more likely to be more mature in their outlook, (although not necessarily) than children brought up in small rural communities, whatever country they are in.

People from the US are not an ethnic group per se; they are from many backgrounds unless of course you are talking about native Americans who are from a variety of tribes based on a geographical area within which they would travel.

Personally, I don’t think being allowed to drive at 16 - (how I wish they would increase the driving age here to at least 18) or having pocket money jobs is a sign of maturity.

Maturity is more about having a sense of the world around you - such as climate change, politics, social affairs, an understanding of different foods and cultures, being able to get along with people from all backgrounds.

I think unfortunately the US is a more dangerous place for children than other comparative nations, both because of gun crime, poverty and poor health outcomes https://www.healthline.com/health-news/more-children-die-in-us-than-most-developed-nations#3

My experience of having travelled to the US relatively often (about 14 times including a short period of living there) and having met kids from the US over here, is that children I have met, do tend to be more sheltered and more insular in their outlook. They don’t tend to use public transport by themselves, travel across the city by themselves, are less aware of life outside of the US, tend to eat mainly US food etc.


I am in the US… and while parents and the media seem to be babying their kids more- not all agree with the idea or actually do it. I have 4 kids. For me - leaving them alone would absolutely depend on which kid it was. My oldest has been a tiny 30 year old since she was 5. My others? Notsomuch. I leave my bigger kids -my girls- alone (together and separately) but only at my house. And I only feel ok with letting the younger daughter because my family lives on the same street. If we were travelling and in a different house I dont imagine I would leave them. Feeling comfortable in my town and in my house is not the same as a foreign town. I know the neighborhood quirks and every single neighbor etc. I think that I wouldnt say anything to this guest in particular because it can be a parenting choice… but that maybe Id add it to the house rules that under x years of age shouldn’t be left alone. Would airbnb cover damage caused by a child left alone? If they were hurt- would I be held responsible? You entrusted your property to the adult- not the child.

I don’t see any put downs of America and Americans but I grew up with americans from when I was around 3 years and having gone to international schools in Bruxelles and visited American friends, they tend to be more “protective” of their children than europeans who are more laid back and relaxed about a lot things.
It’s a culture thing but also because the US has many varied risks in society as its more violent than most european countries.
They way that children are socializing is very different too. It’s not a contest or putting a country down.
One must not generalize an entire population especially those who are so heterogeneous as the US.

In terms of Airbnb guests I must say that the guests I love the most are Americans.Those who visit Copenhagen are just wonderful people who are great fun to meet and host. The major problems I’ve experience have also been with Americans so it is indeed complicated to define a group of people based on their nationality solely.

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