Defining what a stranger is
Perhaps you have already talked to children about the danger of ‘strangers’. But does your child actually understand what is meant by a ‘stranger’? When children’s charity Kidscape interviewed 500 children aged between five and eight, they found that while nine out of ten knew they should never go with a stranger, there was a lot of confusion about what a stranger actually looks like or does. Six out of ten of the children questioned thought a stranger couldn’t be a woman and most described a stranger as a sinister-looking man with dark glasses and a beard.
It’s vitally important your child knows that a stranger is anyone that they do not know. They can be male, female, young, old – any person unknown to your child who approaches them for no reason (unless your child is obvious distress, has had an accident or is lost) could pose a danger. It doesn’t matter how smartly dressed they are or how polite and well-meaning they appear – any person your child does not know, who approaches them or tries to offer them a lift should be ignored and your child should quickly walk or run away from them.
Basic stranger danger rules your child should know
- Never accept gifts or sweets from a stranger
- Never accept a lift in a car from a stranger
- Never go anywhere with a stranger
- Never go off on your own without telling a parent or trusted adult
- Never go up to a car to give directions – keep away so that no one can get hold of you and you can run away
- Always tell a trusted adult if you have been approached by a stranger
- Remember the Yell, Run, Tell rule – it’s okay to run and scream if you find yourself in danger. Get away from the source of danger as fast as you can.
- If you find yourself in danger always run towards shops or other busy places with lots of people
- If you think that you are being followed, go into a shop or knock on the door of a house and ask for help
- Never play in dark or lonely places
- Stay with your group of friends – never wonder off on your own
- Never agree to do a job for someone you don’t know in return for money – they may be trying to trick you
- Make sure your parents know where you are going and when you will be back. If your plans change be sure to tell your parents