Home » All posts » I’m a stranger: run, child, run.


The boys came home from school with some more printed paranoia, this time disguised as a respectable bookmark with advice about bullying. But there, near the bottom, this:

‘If you see a stranger and they come up to you always say NO and tell an adult about this, never go with them and shout as loud as you can NO’
In the past few weeks, the following children in my community have all been approached by a stranger:

• a little girl in a shop
• two boys on bikes
• a child in the playground
• a lad in a park

That stranger was me. (I distracted the little girl while her mum paid for shopping; I thought the boys might live near by and be friends for my son; the child hurt herself; the lad forgot to pick up his empty can).

I want my children to feel that they live in a community that will, for the most part, look out for them. Of course they need to learn how to judge when an approach is inappropriate. But this kind of poison is seeping into children’s lives. If they’re taught to treat anyone they don’t know with instant suspicion, don’t we risk depriving them not just of the kindness of strangers, but also of the help – and protection – we strangers may offer?


  1. Hurrah for strangers! The best way to get our kids to drink tea is to use the old plastic strainer with the hole burned in it, which usually ensures a few fat or long ‘strangers’ in each cup. Their thrill at thumping the tealeaves between their fists to find out when they will meet the strangers banishes any risk of fear created by ‘stranger danger’ culture,and outlasts the puddles of milky tea that spatter the table.

  2. Nic Lewis says:

    Well said Tamsin and what an interesting insight Marc! I shudder when I think I may not help a kiddy who has fallen over, or catch a little escapee who delights in releasing themselves from parents’ control to hurtle through the market square… Far more important to look out for kids, and make that care add to the cohesion we so desperately need in society. We are already raising a couch potato game boy obese generation, let’s not compound it by denying our children some free range.

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