DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Teenagers have been hanging out at shopping malls since the 1970s. It almost seems like a rite of passage. At NorthPark Center in Dallas, that rite of passage now requires a parent after 6:00 p.m.
"I think it's our responsibility to know where our children are, who they're with and what they're doing," said Bridget Johnson, a mother of a 15-year-old.
NorthPark is enforcing a new "code of conduct" that requires anyone 17 or younger to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian while inside the mall after 6:00 p.m. "I really do respect that there are parents who may not agree with us completely," explained NorthPark spokesman, Mark Annick. "I can tell you that we've also spoken with all of the merchants in NorthPark and they think this a very good idea," added Annick.
NorthPark says the new code is a result of the estimated 26 million visitors that come to the mall every year. With such a large volume, the management says they're trying to maintain a family friendly atmosphere.
Meredith Bunch is the store manager of Fresh and she's on board with the policy. "Friday nights and Saturday nights tend to be times spent with your family," said Bunch. "I love that people come to mall and feel safe and feel comfortable," she added.
NorthPark management says the new teen policy has nothing to do with complaints filed by shoppers.
While many parents support it, others maintain that 6:00 p.m. is too early to enforce a code of conduct. "I think it's a little early. I think more like 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m., maybe," said parent Debbie Hilliard.
NorthPark security will enforce the code by randomly checking IDs. Unaccompanied teenagers, 17 and under, will be asked to call their parents to come join them or pick them up.
An exception will be made for teens coming to the mall for a movie. However, NorthPark says they must go straight to the theater and leave once the movie is over.
Teens who work at the mall are also exempt. Here's the full code of conduct:
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