To those of you who have children or have friends or relatives with young ones, this post may be quite alarming, but also quite important.

When I was a kid I was told all about “stranger danger”. You probably remember, not talking to strangers, not getting rides from strangers, and not accepting gifts from those you don’t know.

In the modern age, we are told about monitoring children online, and the dangers of chat rooms, and making sure children are only friends with those they actually know on Facebook, if they are allowed on there at all.

However today I wanted to share with you a danger that you may not have been aware of. I wasn’t until recently.

I often do some fundraising work for a charity which involves cold calling people, yes I’m one of those people who you hate calling you, sorry… I won’t say which charity.

What I find alarming is how many children are left at home alone, particularly after school.

As someone who makes these calls I can tell you that we are not allowed to take donations from anyone under 18 years old, so when a child answers the phone we always ask if their parents are home, or any adults so we can talk to them. You would be amazed at how many children are home alone, or with just a brother or sister.

What may also alarm you is that these calls are done via computer, we don’t dial any numbers ever. All of our calls come from a computer database. When the computer connects us to your phone your details come up, such as your name, your number, and your address.

Who is talking to your kids when your not home?

Who is talking to your kids when your not home?

I was struck the other day by how dangerous this could be in the wrong hands.

Every day charity callers are calling and finding children that are home alone. In the wrong hands this could be nothing short of disastrous. People that have access to addresses and finding that children are left home alone after school, I don’t really need to explain the dangers in that.

My advice to those of you with children who are home alone would be to divert your phone when the kids are home without you, alternatively switch your phone to message so that your phone won’t ring when they are there alone. If you are unable to do these things at least tell your children not to answer the phone when home alone, however most kids find a ringing phone hard to resist. Remember, the child does not need to tell the caller where you live, it is all on the PC screen for them, so not allowing children to answer is the best option.

Those who are on the “Do Not Call Register” should also be aware that charities are exempt from having to comply with this list.

So parents, please add not answering the phone when Mum or Dad isn’t there to the list of rules.

If you have a child I hope you heed this warning, or if you know someone who leaves their children at home alone, please forward this to them or tell them about it.

There are enough things for parents to have to worry about without worrying about who is calling their children while they are at work.

But if parents don’t look out for their own kids, who will?

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9 thoughts on “Strangers

  1. But if parents don’t look out for their own kids, who will?
    … why Peter, the obvious answer is “The Church” … who better to trust than the agents of God on Earth?

  2. Thanks for this. It really is disturbing. I don’t believe in leaving kids at home alone, but I understand why some people do. It’s pretty scary.

  3. Just tell them to ask who is calling? if they don’t recognise the voice. If some one asks for a family person I ask the same question. It is usually not volunteered. The thought of them inadvertently disclosing their situation is quite dangerous, because as you say all their address details are already known…

  4. The point Wixxy is making, clarittee, is that the child doesn’t have to give out any details, it is all there on the computer screen. Name, address & phone number, He is correct in saying the children must be told NOT to answer the phone if at home alone or to put the phone on message while the parent is not there..

    Most children these days have their own mobile phones so if the parent needs to contact them they should use the mobile number. This way they will know that if the landline rings it isn’t a parent calling them.

    It is sad that such problems exist in this day & age but they do.

  5. the cut in the single parent benefit does not help.
    You are cut once you child turns 8
    I guess they figure 8 year olds are mature enough to be latch key kids
    poor single parents had $150 million stripped from them.
    The handful of Media Barons had their licence fees cut, by guess how much ?
    $150 million
    not so fair in modern Australia

  6. Spot on, cornlegend. I think the rules are that you cannot leave a child alone under the age of 13. How will single parents forced to take work with inflexible hours comply with this?

  7. Yes, we should be making sure a parent can always be there with children at home. It makes for a safer community all round, It is a shame that single parent funding has been cut.

  8. Read my granddaughters school news letter.
    Kids under 10 must hold an adults hand to cross a street when not at a pedestrian crossing.
    Then they can go home and be latch key kis under PArenting Payment cuts

  9. Just a thought but have you considered some of these kids just say that because, oh no, another one of those people are calling about something the parents wont want to hear about… Frankly its a quick way to get them off your back, no one over 18 there, no interest remains.

    But in any case, all very right. Excellent post, as per usual.

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