Kids at Kaduwaga, PNG. Tell me they weren't having fun!
Phase One 645 P65+, 28mm, f8 @ 1/160 second, ISO 100.

Yes! Invariably when we're walking around with a camera, children from all countries and all walks of life will smile and ham it up. Not every child, of course, but lots do, especially when they're in a group, up to mischief and having fun.

Children are what life is all about. They are a point of commonality, no matter whether you're in your early 20s or your late 80s. However, be aware of the situation and whether your behaviour (taking photos) is appropriate. There will be situations when it's not cool to take photos of kids (e.g. at a funeral), so be respectful.

There are many countries where it is frowned upon to photograph the adults, but they are more than happy to push their kids in front of the camera. In Australia where I live, photographing children became a problem 20 years ago because of fears of child exploitation. I can remember photographing my own daughter at her school athletics and being told off by another parent because I looked suspicious with my 300mm f2.8 lens. I introduced myself to her (she was an old schoolfriend's mother) and smoothed the waters, but it indicated to me how poisoned our society has become because of a fear of strangers.

Yes, we should be aware of strangers, but we're adults and 99.9% of strangers are just us – nice people. And yes, we should teach our children stranger danger – or karate! (I expect to get a barrage of comments about this, but remember, I am just talking about photography.)

Fortunately, with everyone using a phone to take photos, people aren't so worried about photographers these days. They probably still associate a bigger camera with being a professional and perhaps they are now worried about you making money out of a photo of them or their children (fat chance)!

But back to travelling. In many situations, I like to stand out as a tourist because people don't see me as a threat. And a tourist with a camera, well, people can choose to interact with me or not.

When it comes to kids running up and jumping in front of the camera, go with the flow, enjoy it. When you see a small kid enjoying an ice cream, treat him or her with the same respect as an adult and, if agreeable, take a photo.

Photographs of kids in foreign lands can be a great highlight in your photo album or slide presentation.