Think of the children (and similar phrases citing the interests of children including what about the 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.
China: 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. This resulted in the forced pre-installation of "Green Dam Youth Escort" software on computers destined for China (software which was largely pirated from a program called CyberSitter). Unintentional consequences included that computers with this program were vulnerable to a remote buffer overflow security vulnerability.
UK: David Cameron and his government have warned that certain types of pornography will be criminalized (such as pornography is rape-like elements, even if acted), and a country-wide block of all pornography. This proxy-circumventable block would prevent any site with allegedly pornographic content being accessed by internet users, unless the subscriber requested to be unblocked from the ISP. The reason given was that online pornography was "corroding childhood".
Australia: 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 which specialize in children's rights.
US: Operation Protect Our Children blocked high-level domain names where only a subnetwork was allegedly responsible for the distribution of child pornography. This resulted in a large network being blocked and having a child pornography accusation on their homepage for days.
By 1977 there existed a Dade County, Florida ordinance which outlawed discrimination in employment, housing, and public services on the basis of sexual orientation. Anita Bryant led a campaign called Save Our Children. By focusing on the idea that gays and lesbians were somehow threatening to children and biblical morality, Bryant created a rhetorical focus which rallied 70% of the vote to repeal the ordinance, removing those civil rights protections. 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."
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.[original research?] By the same token, accusing other parties of using "what about the children" as an illogical appeal to emotion is itself sometimes used to avoid logical debate.[original research?]
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.[original research?]