Fear of children

Fear of children
Other namesPedophobia, paedophobia

Fear of children, occasionally called pedophobia, is fear triggered by the presence or thinking of children or infants. It is an emotional state of fear, disdain, aversion, or prejudice toward children or youth. Pedophobia is in some usages identical to ephebiphobia.[1][2][3]

The fear of children has been diagnosed and treated by psychiatrists, with studies examining the effects of multiple forms of treatment.[4] Studies have identified the fear of children as a factor affecting biological conception in humans.[5][6]


Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a founding editor of Ms. magazine, diagnosed America as having an "epidemic of paedophobia", saying that, "though most of us make exceptions for our own offspring, we do not seem particularly warm-hearted towards other peoples' children."[7]

One author suggests that the cause of the fear of children in academia specifically extends from adults' distinct awareness of the capacity of children: "Children embarrass us because they point ever too cleverly and clearly to our denial of personal, material, and maternal history."[8]

One report suggests that the source of current trends in the fear of children have a specific source: James Q. Wilson, a professor at UCLA's School of Management, who in 1975 helped inaugurate the current climate of pedophobia when he said "a critical mass of younger persons... creates an explosive increase in the amount of crime."[9]

Sociologists have situated "contemporary fears about children and childhood" as "contributing to the ongoing social construction of childhood", suggesting that "generational power relations, in which children's lives are bounded by adult surveillance" affect many aspects of society.[10]