Adolescents and adventure: How much is too much?
June 11th, 2010
02:12 PM ET

Adolescents and adventure: How much is too much?

The fact that Sutherland has been located is cause for celebration, but the concern and activity surrounding the search for a teenager allowed to sail alone across oceans brought this question to many people’s minds: Is this a good idea?

The answer: well, it depends
"Adolescents vary tremendously in regards to their judgment, maturity and the risks that they face in life," says Frederic Reamer, a professor of social work at Rhode Island College and a member of the National Association of Social Workers. "There are circumstances in parenting where virtually everyone would agree… and then there are circumstances like this where reasonable, thoughtful minds can differ tremendously," he says.

Abby Sunderland is not the first adolescent to embark on such a quest. And Reamer says children who complete these tasks can benefit from “a strong sense of accomplishment, competence and remarkable satisfaction,” and parents should not stifle their teen if they feel their child is mature and demonstrates good judgment.

In an interview with CNN shortly before her daughter set off on the around-the-world adventure, Sutherland’s mother, Marianne, did express concern over how her daughter would handle loneliness, but also said she felt Abby could handle the challenge. "The critics don't know Abby and what a good sailor she is. We know it's a risk, but also that with the right equipment and preparation, it's a very calculated risk”, she told CNN’s Anouk Lorie.

Others say hold on a minute
“I think its wonderful she wanted to take this on, but when you're responsible for helping a child to develop, you are gradually increasing the risk in their life,” says Jill Weber, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C.,  area, and a member of the American Psychological Association. “In this case, it sounds a lot like allowing a toddler to walk himself to school.” Weber encourages parents to consider everything their children come to them with, but only within boundaries.

Dr. Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology whose research at the Teachers College of Columbia University focuses on children of privilege, says the cultural context of American society often encourages parents to say “yes” to situations that could lead to harmful outcomes for their child. “There is this feeling that more is always better, and the more you can do and accomplish the better. But there needs to be limits,” she said in a phone conversation. “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.”

Studies looking at the teenage brain show that adolescent brains are different from adults, and that certain areas impacting judgment may not be fully developed until they are in their twenties. Weber says the fact that the teenage brain is not developed, can put childredn at increased risk of being traumatized in dangerous situations. “If you're suddenly flooded by fear, that's when the frontal lobe needs to kick in, but for adolescents, it may not.”

A spokesperson from US Sail, the national governing body of sailing, says there are no age limits on an when a person is too young or too old to sail, but the most important thing is to be aware of safety requirements . "We’re happy that Abby is safe, and the fact that she was able to maintain herself in these conditions demonstrates she had a firm grasp of the guidelines."

In comments to CNN before her departure, Sutherland demonstrated a keen awareness of the challenges she could face.

“I know there is a possibility I could die. People die at sea all the time,” she admitted in the interview, adding “It's kind of terrifying to think about. But it is those thoughts that will keep me safe as they'll make me very careful.”

soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Herold Morris

    No rescuing should be allowed. Just let her sit out there with a broken mast.

    No sending out an A330 Airbus to look for her, or a fishing vessel to tow her back in. Those people have more important things to do.

    It is a big waste in so many ways.

    June 12, 2010 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. oneula

    What a fantastic teenager!!! Compare her to most teenagers and she, with her parents support, is at the top. Rescue costs are an issue, but that is the case with all rescue costs, whether it's at the top of a mountain, down a cave, in a river, on an ATV, in the woods after a hunting accident, in a car that rolled over on a back road, etc. She was safer on this epic journey of hers than hundreds of thousands of children on the streets in the US with the gang bangers, crack heads, pedophiles, drive-by shooters, drunk drivers and such. I think it would be helpful and put things if perspective if CNN would publish the numbr of minors killed by hand guns in the US during the same numbers of days that Abbey was sailing, or compare it to the number overdoes by kids.

    What a positive inspiration and role model for other kids!!!

    June 12, 2010 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ro

    Oh yeah she is under 18, that is a big problem. Oh I wonder when it won't be a problem, 18 or 21. Like 2 years makes a big difference. What is maturity, who knows. If you think it is 18, then you are full of it.

    June 12, 2010 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mary

    I agree with the people that say she could have run into some thing much worse than bad weather out in the open sea.
    A 16 year old girl alone in the ocean would be an easy mark.
    I think it shows bad judgment on the parents part to have allowed her to go..
    There are many things we want to try, that for good reason, we just shouldn't .And sailing the ocean alone at 16 seems like one of those things.

    June 12, 2010 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mary

    Sorry, but the truth is women are more vulnerable than men..I know being a woman myself and fiercely independent, confidant and strong.I am still no match for a couple of men..There are still things I am no match for a man at doing, because I just simply am not strong enough.
    Mentally women are equal..In all ways..But sailing the ocean is not based only on mental agility and strength..
    So I understand people who say because she is a girl she is more vulnerable and more at risk.
    It's just the facts..
    And it's stupidity to deny the truth, and take risks trying to pretend they aren't so.

    June 12, 2010 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. David

    Fascinating adventure, the type that most people can only dream off.
    Yes, we have images of the child flying away in a weather balloon, endorsements, parent publicity stunts and pirates near the coast of Somalia. But let's also remember that about 3/4 of the world is ocean. Coached, pushed or coerced, she is one brave individual.
    If anything, I need to stop babying my kids.
    Thank you Abby!

    June 12, 2010 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mano

    Ahh to have the worries of a rich person and have big decisions to make like whether to let the kids take the yacht for a spin around the world for most of a year. Get real. She has a state-of-the art boat with all kinds of expensive technological wizardry onboard to keep her safe. She's safer on the ocean than she would be in my neighborhood just walking down the street, safer than the 35,000 kids who died of starvation during the time she's waiting to be "rescued" by a fishing boat, safer than the thousands of teens who die in car crashes every year. I wish I had half the things she has on her boat in my home. Who has a water desalinater? There are real issues in the world. How about more of those and less of these junk stories about the worries of rich families.

    June 12, 2010 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Angela McFadden

    It's amazing how people are so quick to pile on criticism of parents and teenagers alike. These people need a reality check. When I was 16, I could leave home and, per the laws of my region, would be free to walk amongst all the dangers of the world and never return to my parents. Many people around the globe take that walk at an earlier age, and they sink or swim. Supression of adolescents' need for unsupervised adventure, the natural urge that supports their growth into independent adults, is less likely to protect them than it is to aggravate tendencies find adventure in surrepticious destructive behaviors (drugs, crime, casual sex etc.). Better a young girl face high waves in the Indian Ocean in a planned and supported adventure than the dangers of prison or pregnancy so many other kids face as a result of impromptu efforts to escape controlling parents.

    June 12, 2010 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Ed

    Forgive me, Ms. Rice, but comparing a 16 year old who is seasoned and disciplined to "a toddler walking himself to school" is not responsible journalism. Balance in a story is not simply pulling in a random quote in opposition to a premise. I understand you are trying to be provocative, and to subtly denigrate the Sunderland family and their accomplishments by playing upon common fears of the non-sailing community. That's what CNN is all about – the suppression of excellence in favor of mediocrity – as your own writing certainly demonstrates. Well, I guess it's a paycheck, isn't it?

    June 12, 2010 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Elaine

    I think it is wonderful that Abby is so responsible that she can take care of herself. I am glad that she is safe and well. I am glad she had an adventure of a lifetime, but if she would have died it would have been her parents fault. So many people today think that teenagers should be able to make their own decisions at such a young age but no matter how you slice it, parents are supposed to make decisions that are in the best interest of their child. A decision to allow you daughter or son to sail around the world alone is not a smart decision. It just is not a smart decision. They should not have let their son and they should not have let their daughter. Helicopter parenting is not a good way to parent children but neither is just letting them do whatever they want, whenever they want.

    I am sure that a book deal or movie deal will be in the works soon and then I guess all will be well with the world. Sad!

    June 12, 2010 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. J in Jax

    I believe Abby is an inspiration to all young ladies – everywhere. In today's society the media glorifies Paris Hilton, Lohan and Spears, yet young, independent, smart, courageous women like Abby get silly stupid comments about "how dangerous" it is or "call CPS". Unbelievable!!

    This is a young lady I would want my children to look up to. Do you want your daughter to be a tramp like Paris Hilton? Wake Up America, this young lady is a role model for your kids, not some steroid pumped baseball player or drunk actress.

    But then again, this liberal media and a mostly drug laced nation would rather see young girls in a mall smoking or drinking, getting free condoms in school and visiting abortion clinics without parental notice. Yeah that is not DANGEROUS!!

    Go Abby GO!

    June 12, 2010 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Australian TAX PAYER!

    This child and her irresponsible parent's cost me as an Australian tax payer hundreds of thousands of dollars for her resue!. Yet she and and her parents are already talking of undertaking another attempt. Why should i pay?

    June 12, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Wendy Carroll

    Much of "setting a record" business is motivated by greed and fame. Obviously the kid who climbed the highest mt. and the teen sailors, Zac and Abby, have the money to pursue their or their parent's quest. BUT to be alone in the ocean is suicidal. . . so much can and did happen. The mountain boy at least had sherpas. Good sense is somehow sliding into extinction like an endangered species. Would this all happen if there were no media coverage, no communications? Truth to tell, we don't know the true motives or the people involved.

    June 12, 2010 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Ray

    To all of you who think this was a good idea, I wonder how you would be reacting id she had not been rescued. How many of you are experienced sailors and know the real risks inherent in this undertaking. I am an avid sailor with a 35 foot sailboat. Things can go wrong in a heartbeat. She did nothing particularly heroic to save herself. Al she did was turn on the distress signal and sit and wait to get rescued. What is so amazing about that?

    Do any of you have an idea of the strength it takes to wrestle with a 40 foot sailboat in high winds? Much more strength than a 16 year old has alone. Additionally, the timing of the journey was foolhardy putting her in waters that are in their stormy season.

    I can't believe people are comparing this venture to driving a car and contact sports. Shows how little you know about sailing.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ray

    Oh, and another thing. Those that are blaming it on equipment failure are wrong. In the winds she was in (40-45 knots) a boat would not be demasted if the sails were down. You cannot have much, if any sails in those high winds. You would have to reef the sails down to prevent the sails from ripping off the mast. I suspect she lacked the strength to reef the sails in the high winds, or made a judgment error.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply

    Americans are funny. We love going ga ga over athletes....worshiping them and placing them on pedestals. Look how we acted towaqrds phepls and tiger woods...now look where they are. It is really pathetic. This girl is an attention w hore. I hate people like that. Now all the ditto head morning shows will want her to be a guest and she will end up on a ceral box...it is all really tacky. She did not do a damned thing and what she did do was rediculous. This girl is not a hero or a good role model for any child.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. IMHO

    I think it is absolutely ludicrous that the vast majority of the parents venting their outrage against Abby's parents think nothing of turning their own teenagers loose alone in an automobile on an expressway to take their chances with road rage and drunks. Get real, people. With all her training, experience and specialized equipment, Abby was probably a lot safer than your kids are on your local highways.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ronnieg

    Since this is a private individual doing what apparently she and her parents want, I have no problem with it – no matter how stupid or ill advised. What I have a problem with, is when something goes wrong in these extreme events, they expect everyone to go crazy and try to rescue them or pick up the pieces and save their stupid ass. They and their reality made for tv ventures should be charged for every penny for the rescue.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Geoff

    These kids are too young to be making decisions involving this level of risk. Chalk it up to poor parenting.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. John E. Volker

    I am not surprised at some of these lame comments that folks have on here. I when 15 was given a book by my brother called the 'Dove' about a 16 year old boy sailing the world over a 5 year period his name is Robin L. Graham. I was in the sea cadets at that time, before that the sea scouts. I learned to sail in what I call, no in fact rough currents. The place Columbia River. I was with the sea scouts then. I was only 13 years of age then. Yes there was supervision, yes it was very safety minded of course it would be we learned how to do boating. I at the age of 14 was on top of a crows nest on a 'P.T Boat' now your thinking what..well the scouts had the only working boat of that type in the west coast..of course did not have the tubes on the side, nor the weapons but was converted . I was in command of that boat at 15 with adult supervision of course as we set off to the mouth of the Columbia River. I then after that left to the cadets to further my training in seamenship as you can go so far in that org.
    I at the age of 18 went in the military, oh so my parents are 'bad' cause I went in the service ..ha...Abby is not that much younger then I when I went in the military. And I new a few that where only 17 in the military, yes 17!! are you parents surprised?? ohhhh and they carried guns and had jobs to do and so forth and etc..
    I set sail for the 'San Juans at the ripe age of 32, on my sail boat a 32ft hunter. After 16 years I made my big sailing trip, well for me that was a big deal. I could not go at Abby's age, but had the 2nd best thing being in the scouts and cadets.. I am glad that my life turned out the way it did, I owe a lot to my parents and the fact that my father wanted me to learn seamenship, because he was in the Navy when young and the later worked as a civilian. This keep me from doing drugs, doing bad things when young. Like so much others do these days.
    Abby has done great and and her parents should be proud of her and so should the world. I am very happy she is alive and looking forward to reading her book if she writes one.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. ramfan

    It amazes me sometimes the value some people put on achievements in life that are just temporal. She a sixteen year old girl, there are more meaningful things in life than just trying to become famous through some feat or achievement. When she is old and in her final days, what she did is not really going to matter very much. Spending time helping people and being a loving person is the true reward of life. When she gone no one will hardly remember who or what she did.

    June 12, 2010 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Petey

    100 years ago, 16-year-olds were leaving their families behind and emigrating to foreign countries, serving in the military, marrying, running their own farms. Modern Western societies coddle, stifle, oversanitize and underestimate their children – and in so doing all we achieve is the retardation of their maturity. Stop. Stop. Stop.

    June 12, 2010 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Elise

    OK, so let me get this right. Its ok to send 13yr olds to college because they are academically bright enough (though certainly not mature enough to deal with the sex,drugs and liquor) Oh wait, what about the 15yr old who just the climbed the mountain with his dad. Sure dad was there, so what.. no risks in climbing a mountain??I have never seen so much prejudice as I have covering this story. I dont know this family at all, but I will say that there have always been and will always be exceptional children, and chronological age has very little to do with exceptional ability. Maybe as a parent we would not let our kids do these things, but that doesnt mean that we have the right to tell others how to raise their kids. Grow -up world!

    June 12, 2010 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. D&J

    Our prayers have been answered and Abby is now safely aboard a French fishing vessel. Abby was attempting a very difficult and dangerous undertaking with no guarantee of success. This amazing young lady has demonstrated her skill and maturity over and over again. So many comments imply that there was lack of caution or poor judgment. Abby was well prepared and equipped. So many folks are concerned about who will pay for the rescue attempt. Do you think the USA is the only country that has a Coast Guard? Are you putting yourself in the position of deciding who should be rescued and who should not? It’s amazing how many people are willing to stand on the sidelines and throw rocks at the participants instead of stepping onto the playing field. Many of the critics will have lived their entire lives without accomplishing anything of mention. Does it really make any difference that Abby is sixteen years old? Are you saying that this would not have happened if she were seventeen or twenty or if she were not alone when it happened? Get real.. That sailboat could have been by several experienced adults and it would still ave been in the same situation. This world is populated by those that wish and those that will and Abby is one of the latter. Too bad there aren't more sixteen year old's like Abby. Prayers and best wishes to Abby, her family and crew and the many people who are involved in seeing Abby safe ashore…

    June 12, 2010 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. PharaohQueen

    I love the fact that she attempted this by herself. She is a brave young lady and I am also glad that she is safe. God Bless sweetie.

    June 12, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. OnTheRoad

    Whether she made it or not the family (parents) knew that the story was going to be worth millions, and that is all that they were thinking about!!!

    June 12, 2010 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. eh

    My reaction is two phrases taken from things from the founders of our great nation: "Live free or Die" (John Stark) and "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Benjamin Franklin) – Go Abbey!

    June 12, 2010 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Bru

    Her great failure was trying to sail in the Southern Ocean in winter. Most knowledgeable sailors schedule their crossings to avoid winter in the southern hemisphere to avoid the terrible weather common there.

    Since she had already abandoned her record attempt there was no longer any compelling reason to cross the Southern Ocean, just poor judgment by all those involved, including her parents who were in frequent communication with her.

    June 12, 2010 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. SteveTundra

    I understand all the points being made and some are quite fascinating. However, I also know that you can build an arguement for almost anything and have it sound plausable at first glance. I think the "line in the sand" between what an underage should and should not be allowed to do can be gray at times. But I do believe this went too far. I think there's a reason why 18 is the age set for establishing adulthood and this "adventure" was most certainly should be restricted to adults.

    June 12, 2010 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Memphis Slim

    Now thousands of hungry people have been fed and children taught how to read because Ms. California got her 15 minutes of fame . . .


    Now thousands of gallons of fuel oil have been burned to make sure Ms. California and her mommy and daddy got their 15 minutes of fame.

    Gooooo, Balloon Parents of the World!

    June 12, 2010 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. JoeyE

    16 yrs old skilled or experienced sailor to proves that she is doing very well out there.. BUT in my opinion EVEN laws in USA... I don't believe to send the kids out there before 18 yrs old.. YES! 18 years old is a freedom, 16 is STILL under the parents.. even in the laws.. if a child isn't returning to their parent's house at curfew will lead to the jail..
    it's your choice.. i see many parents go jailed because of curfew.. she broke the laws by curfew of government laws.. not parent's rules..
    now to a guy who said 30 years old are infant.. however your parents allowed you fly at 16 yrs old.. sure thing.. airplane isn't bad also you DIDNT go around the world.. i HATE the world RECORD which is stupid.. it leads us to be obsessing to BEAT the record and say to the world.. hey I'm the youngest person in the world that did travel ! SO WHAT! grow up! I already had my dream BUT i was 18 yrs old and beyond.. now I'm an adult.. i disagreed that 16 or 17 should go out.. only 18 years old because there is no law in curfew.,.
    i won't say CPS or anything outside of their parents.. just wondering how a foolish move they did..

    June 12, 2010 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. YK

    Here is the simple answer....

    Send a shadow boat along. Abby makes the record books. Mom and Dad sleep at night knowing their daughter has a rescue team in waiting.

    June 12, 2010 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jon_S

    I applaud Abby in her drive to succeed and maturity beyond her years. These are the qualities that helped make this nation great. Instead of damning the parents and calling for CPS involvement we should volunteer to help get Abby on her way again and let her complete the journey she started.

    If even a small percentage of our teenagers chose to do something of this type instead of choosing to drop out of school, join gangs and sleep around the future for our country would be significantly brighter.

    June 12, 2010 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. dcdrew

    16 year old sails around the world alone hell to the no child welfare where are you?

    June 12, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Really?

    Nothing like raped by pirates. She's lucky it was just a storm.

    June 12, 2010 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. j

    If a child wants to, and the parents say 'yes' than it shouldn't be anyone's business what it is. People need to grow spines and stop pushing their cowardly ways on others.

    June 12, 2010 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Floridagranny1

    I'm a 64 year old grandma that once had the desire in my teens to travel the world, graduating high school at 17. Unfortunately I was eliminated by an overprotective family and prevented from joining the military. The only way, ignorantly, that I could get out was to marry a military man and travel with him. Turns out he traveled (OMG! Japan, Hawaii, Italy!) and I got to move back in with my family in Indiana and work my as off to buy a car while raising our baby. I an sick now, unable to walk, may never get anywhere that I ever dreamt of, and I miss my life, the way it should have been. I made everybody happy but myself and I regret it . I'm 64 but I still have my memories and 16 is not a baby, not even a child. Please, if you know what you want, go for it. You have NOW. So if you make a mistake, big deal, make it and go on. Life is a learning experience that I hope you don't let it pass you by. Some night I will die in my sleep with all my lost chances, sad.

    June 12, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Elmo

    Maybe CPS should issue a statement calling for bloggers to use fewer exclamation points and not be quite so judgmental and rude. Nice try, Abby. Good on you.

    June 12, 2010 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Barbara

    I think this quote says it all: "But it is those thoughts that will keep me safe as they'll make me very careful." Typical adolescent feeling of invulnerability/immortality, to disregard the risk of factors outside her control.

    And to those who compare her risk to the probability of a little leaguer being killed by a ball to the chest.... I don't think so.

    I do admire her stick-to-it-iveness; I presume she was disqualified from the record even before this latest crisis, because she had made two stops for repairs – ? Yet she continued on.

    All-in-all, I would support the attempt, but with an escort like Channel swimmers use.

    June 12, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. cd23

    Crazy for the storm is an interesting novel dealing with a father who pushed his son at dangerous pursuits that the father pursued. The son makes the comment after a plan crash that the only reason he survived is because of what his father taught him. The father was always there though. I think that pursuing this for the sake of being the youngest was the wrong reason. However, encouraging independence and calculated risk taking was not bad. Personally, I think this was a shade too far but it was the young woman and her parents decision. I think as a country that we go too far in trying to coddle teenagers and protect them. Teens are biologically adult by 14 and we need to prepare them for that. I mean do teens who are given responsibility have poorly developed brains or not. I was more troubled when a seventeen year old was recently charged with rape and subject to lifetime in prison for agreeing to sex with a 15 year old who initiated it. To equate this to murder is insane and to say this teenager is a rapist and danger to society is also crazy. This happened all the time when I was in high school 35 years ago and the males involved turned into fine members of society.

    June 12, 2010 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Brand

    Her parents should have to foot the bill for her rescue and everything involved in this abling act by her parents. She should be in school preparing for her future.....what's up with such a irresponsible act as this?

    June 12, 2010 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Tish

    I say good for Abby and her parents. They obviously have raised different children than most parents out there. Keep in mind in wasn't too long ago that 16 year old's were getting married, working full time and going to war. Today, we absolutely coddle our teens. It appears these kids have lived a life quite different from the ordinary American teen. As a society we are so ready to criticize everyone for anything they do. Take a chance and get out there and live.

    June 12, 2010 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Danny O

    It is interesting that the media now asks whether child services should be brought in. Why weren't they saying anything about this when they interviewed her and her family before she left in the first place. My opinion. This is seriously bad parenting. I know everyone wants to raise a genius these days, or to feel like their child is destined for greatness. But SHE IS 16! No one who knows anything about sailing, would ever allow a minor to attempt such a feat.

    June 12, 2010 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. frayianodin

    Whos going to pay for all the search and rescue efforts? not the parents of a 16 year old minor.. you and i will be paying for the 1/4 million dollar effort...

    June 12, 2010 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. georgert

    "The family should obviously have to pay for the rescue."

    As opposed to distressed mariners around the world who don't?

    June 12, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. hoss

    look, as easy as it is to point fingers at the parents it really was the teens choice....as a young adult we can serve our country, run up huge credit card debt and all kinds of things but we can't make choices for ourselves?...maybe this girl thought it was her destiny to cross the sea?!....who are you to question that?....are you playing god?!....YES you ARE.....Can anyone tell me what the #1 sin in any religion is?...yes you need to step back and open your eyes.....you don't have the right to take away free will...and if you do....pls enjoy eternity in hell...it IS your rightful place

    June 12, 2010 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. SheWiz

    1) Making the parents pay for the cost of the rescue might serve to dampen some of this overzealousness.
    2) Minors have been allowed to sail the world, apparently, because the open seas do not come under the jurisdiction of any government. This might be remedied by charging the negligent parents with abandonment, and removing the children from their custody.
    3) The world is friggin broke, and now we have to deal with this nonsense. I sure hope the parents are being held responsible for all expenses.

    June 12, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. luvcomments

    People should realize that not all teens are American and, therefore, not undisciplined and inept. I came alone to the US at the age of 18, not knowing anyone here. At age 16 I was living on my own and working in London, having moved away from home as was customary. At 13 and 15 and 16, I travelled all over Europe by ferry and trains. Alone. Female. I realize I was not solo on a boat but, still, by American over-protective-parent standards it was risky. People just raise kids very differently over here and should not judge kids raised in other countries by the same standard. In Europe, we graduated from high school at 15 and 16 yrs old. Then we got jobs and supported ourselves. We were raised with certain expectations, were also self-disciplined and not unintelligent. More capable by far than many adults over here even today.

    June 12, 2010 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Troy

      I could not agree more with what luvcomments said.. I am german and moved to the us when i was 21.. parents are more strict here thats why there are so many problems with gangs and kids in jail and stealing.. Obesity is a big thing for me but that is for a different board.. everyone please be healthy..

      July 31, 2010 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
  49. xenoc

    We need to eliminate records or acknowledgement for "being the youngest to...". This is what is encouraging people seeking fame and fortune to put, or allow their children to be put, at unreasonable risks (and for anyone who has not seen the Southern Ocean in the wintertime, check out youtube to see the high magnitude of this risk in this case). This story has apparently ended without any deaths but not all have turned out so well: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Dubroff.

    June 12, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Bill

    Why isn't she in school?

    June 12, 2010 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

June 2010
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