My daughter is about 7 and I want to train her to take the public bus to school (not a school bus because the school doesn't have a school bus) by herself. But the problem is that I am afraid some bad people might convince her to follow them or do dodgy things like doing drugs or joining a gang.

The common phrase is "do not talk to strangers".

But I want to make it clearer why not to talk to strangers.

What is the common verb that expresses a person tries to convince children to follow them or do something bad?

For example, "do not talk to strangers as they might tempt/entice/lure... you into doing bad things or kidnap you"

  • 1
    I'm sure you don't really want to explain exactly why to your daughter. Most parents wouldn't want their 7-year-old child to need to know all the sordid details of pedophiles and psychopaths. Feb 3, 2023 at 17:35
  • English does have a number of "specially for children" words for genitalia, bodily waste functions, etc. And in extremis we can euphemistically use words like "cuddle", "tickle", "play" for sexual activity. But we don't have special "child-oriented" euphemisms for interfering with a minor. Feb 3, 2023 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


In the U.S. we refer to people who do bad things to children as predators. The term is also used to refer to anyone who takes advantage of someone weaker or more desperate than themselves.

So you might say, Don't talk to strangers. They could be predators.

You could use the verb prey but the noun predator is the more common way to refer to predators. Of course, as Fumble Fingers points out, the follow-up question from the child will probably be, What's a predator, Mommy? Good luck with all that.

  • "Predator" refers almost exclusively to people who commit sexual abuse, doesn't it?
    – alphabet
    Feb 4, 2023 at 0:09
  • @alphabet - In reference to children, it's often used and understood that way but it is not limited to that. People who prey on any weaker group are predators, Dictionary dot com definition #2.
    – EllieK
    Feb 6, 2023 at 13:30

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