Kids and Strangers

Who is a Stranger?

Rule number 1:  A stranger is someone you don't know. 


We take it for granted everyone knows a stranger when they see one.  However, studies reveal children often don't know who is a stranger.  Our children watch us interact with people we know, as well as people we don't know.


Parents worry when children are alone or with their friends if they can use reasonable judgment.


Begin teaching children some basic facts of living in a world made up of mostly strangers. Through questions and discussions, discover what they know about living in the world and what more they need to know.  Too often, young children trust a kindly stranger.


- Take time to listen to your child.  

- Do not dismiss anything as exaggeration or a figment of the imagination.  

- Role playing is a proven method to help your child deal effectively with life's unpleasant realities.


Parents Teaching Children About Strangers

Open communication is the key to a safe family.

  • Teach your children his/her full name, your full name, address, and telephone number.
  • Teach them how to reach either you or a trusted adult and how to call for police assistance.Dial911
  • Teach children to use push-button and rotary telephones.
  • Make sure they know how to make a local and long-distance phone call.  
    • Even a small child can be taught to dial 9-1-1.
    • If a child calls 9-1-1, we will have address calling from.  
    • If they call from a phone booth, they do not have to use money to dial 9-1-1.
  • Listen closely if children talk about anyone they encounter in your absence.  
    • Advise school and law enforcement of any suspicious persons or circumstances.
  • Establish strict procedures for picking your children up at school.
    • Establish a family secret code word.  Tell children to never go with anyone who does not know the code word.
  • Photograph children at least four times a year.  Note birthmarks and other distinguishing features.
  • Practice with your children how to get out of the house in case of an emergency.


Rules for Children About Strangers

Teach your children these life-saving tips.

  • Do not talk to strangers (men, women, or children).
  • If a stranger tries to talk to you, yell "No, get away!" and tell someone you know and trust.
  • Never get into a stranger's car or go near it.
  • Never take candy, gift, or money from a stranger.
  • Never help a stranger look for or take care of  lost or injured pet.
  • Always remember to tell your parents where you are going and whom you are going with.
  • Do not play in isolated or construction areas.
  • Talk to your parents and get a secret password.
  • Walk or play with a friend.  This is called the "buddy system."
  • While shopping, stay close to your parents.  If separated, go to a store clerk.
  • Know where the list of emergency phone numbers is.
  • Never tell anyone your name over the phone.
  • Don't let a stranger into your home.
  • Never tell anyone that you are home alone.



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This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 5/22/2015