My Quiet Life My Quiet Life

talk to strangers?

Bruce Schneier likes to confront common wisdom head-on, and he has some interesting things to say about telling kids not to talk to strangers:

In talks, I’m even more direct. I think “don’t talk to strangers” is just about the worst possible advice you can give a child. Most people are friendly and helpful, and if a child is in distress, asking the help of a stranger is probably the best possible thing he can do.

He makes a convincing case, and I absolutely agree that it’s ridiculous and harmful to instill a catch-all fear of other people in your kids. But, a wise parent probably doesn’t tell their kids “don’t talk to strangers EVER”, but rather “don’t make a habit of wandering off with just anyone all the damn time”, which is more reasonable.