Q: I witnessed a young child climbing up a dangerous fence and I called out to him to get down. When he failed to listen, I threatened him, “If you don’t get down immediately, I’ll tell your mother!” The child was frightened and bounced off. I am now debating whether, l’toeles, I am allowed to inform on him, for his own safety, or, considering that I pledged not to tattle on him if he would get down immediately, is it assur for me to tell her?
A: You are permitted and even obligated to tell the parents of the child about his dangerous behavior. However, since it was understood that his mother would not hear about it, you should be careful that he doesn’t find out who snitched on him. (The mother can change some details, and say that a man told her, if it was a woman who did, and vice versa.) With proper precautions, the child won’t make the connection between the person who threatened him and the one who told his mother.
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