Q: I was witness to a young child climbing up a dangerous fence and I called out to him to get down. When he failed to listen I employed the threat of, “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, so that his mother will increase her vigilance; or, considering that I pledged not to tattle on him, it is assur for me to tell?
A: It is permissible and even obligatory to tell the parents of the child about his dangerous feat. However, since it was understood that his mother would not hear about it, care should be taken that he does not find out who snitched on him. (Details could be changed; example: “a man told me” in the case of a woman who watched the act, or vice versa. With the proper precautions taken, the child will not make the connection between the person who threatened him and the one who told his mother.)
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