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Citing the interests of children can be used to justify why something should, or should not, be done. When used as a plea for pity, this appeal to emotion can constitute a potential logical fallacy, while when used as an appeal for sympathy for weaker members of society, or the social good of the long-term health and viability of a society, it can constitute an argument for social justice generally accepted as appropriate.
It can be seen as:
As justification for censorship 
Internet censorship of, and content-control software for offensive material, is often implemented as "done for the children". One of the largest attempts was the Green Dam Youth Escort, by the People's Republic of China, which failed to mandate Internet content-control for all children in the country.
Usage to circumvent logical debate 
Claiming to do something for the benefit of children is not a fallacy of itself, but if used to avoid logical debate, it is a thought-terminating cliché. By the same token, accusing other parties of using "what about the children" as an illogical appeal to emotion is itself sometimes used to to avoid logical debate.
While it is possible to claim that something is being done "for the children" as support in a logical argument, or as a counterargument, such use is only valid when it does not lead to a logical black-hole. For example, it is reasonable to suggest and legislate to "add traffic lights next to schools so that children are safer from cars." This argument however neglects other factors that may be the cause, such as bad road design and/or construction.
In legislation 
- Anita Bryant's Save Our Children campaign in 1977 was successful in repealing a Dade County, Florida ordinance which outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. "By focusing on the idea that gays and lesbians were somehow threatening to children, Bryant had created an incredibly powerful rhetorical focus for social conservatives. In 1981, Jerry Falwell echoed her language in a fundraising letter that reminded his followers, "Please remember, homosexuals don't reproduce! They recruit! And they are out after my children and your children."
- Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has billed his Internet censorship scheme as being for the purpose of protecting the children, despite concerns from organizations such as Save The Children.
See also