think of the children

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English[edit]

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Verb[edit]

think of the children (often in the imperative)

  1. Used other than as an idiom: see think,‎ of,‎ the,‎ children.
  2. (humorous) To engage in moral panic.
    • 2002, John Meany, Art, Argument, and Advocacy: Mastering Parliamentary Debate, New York: International Debate Education Association, ISBN 978-0-9702130-7-5, OCLC 438996525, page 65:
      I know this national missile defense plan has its detractors, but won't someone please think of the children?
    • 2004 July 8, Andrew Kantor, “Won't someone think of the children?”, USA Today, Gannett, retrieved on November 2, 2014:
      Too many people these days are thinking of the children, or at least claiming to think of them. Keeping kids safe and virginal — protected from seeing the 'wrong' things — is the rallying concept so many people use to forward their agendas. Ban this, eliminate that, censor the other thing — it's all done in the name of protecting children. Not, heaven forbid, because anyone wants to force their morality and sensibility on the rest of us. Perish the thought.
    • 2005 February 16, Jack Marshall, “'Think of the Children!': An Ethics Fallacy”[1], Ethics Scoreboard, Alexandria, Virginia: ProEthics, Ltd., retrieved on November 1, 2014, archived from the original on February 22, 2014:
      'Think of the children!' is a tried-and-true debate-stopper, but more often than not one that succeeds because of its ability to inhibit rational thought.
    • 2009, Scott Beattie, Community, Space and Online Censorship, Ashgate, ISBN 978-0-7546-7308-8, page 165–167:
      Children are simultaneously the victims of predators and vulnerable to exposure to dangerous images. All accompanied by the shrill cry of 'will no one think of the children?'
    • 2011, Rebecca Coleman; Debra Ferreday, “Reading Disorders: Online Suicide and the Death of Hope”, in Hope and Feminist Theory, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-61852-6, page 99:
      Moral panic has become in current media discourse the inevitable outcome of any story involving 'youth': in the blogosphere, 'Won't someone think of the children!' — the imagined battle-cry of the faux-outraged columnist — is in danger of becoming the new Godwin's law'
    • 2014 January 5, Carol Hunt, “Don't use our children as shields to protect status quo; The Helen Lovejoy argument against gay adoption is simply discrimination in a 'caring' guise, writes Carol Hunt”, Sunday Independent, Independent Newspapers Ireland Limited, page 27:
      The problem with using the 'Won't anyone think of the children' defence when arguing against adoption rights for LGBT couples is that, because there isn't a shred of evidence to support your argument (on the contrary, it discriminates against children already born) -- what you're really saying can be interpreted as: 'Those gays can get married and do whatever it is they like to each other but I wouldn't trust some of them near a child.'

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often posed as a rhetorical question: Won't someone please think of the children?

Quotations[edit]

See also[edit]