Pedophobia, or a fear of children, is extremely common in many societies, though in varying degrees. Many people develop a fear of children because of the popular notion that crime rates will rise with any rise in the population of children in a given area, while others develop a fear of children because of child rearing responsibilities, an inability to connect with children, or a dislike of children because of their communication methods and mannerisms. As a widespread phenomenon, the fear of children has been perpetuated by various media through movies, television, and writings on the subject.
Widespread pedophobia has become an international issue and now focuses on maintaining the safety and quality of life of children throughout the world. Experts argue that a fear of children can lead to abuse of children, particularly in less developed countries. In more developed parts of the world, pedophobia presents its own sets of problems, including a devaluation of the life of a child, child abuse, and difficulties concerning rearing a child in some societies. Many people who fear children view them as a liability and a nuisance, and they believe children can only detract from the quality of life of a society.
Some people suffering from a fear of children have developed an irrational fear based on perceptions presented in popular media. Horror movies regularly feature "evil child" characters who seem to have no moral compass. Other types of films and television shows present children as mischievous, lacking social tact, or overly aggressive and wild toward peers and adults. While many children do, in fact, possess some of these traits, the overstatement of these traits in media can lead to an irrational fear of all children, most of whom are actually quite vulnerable in reality.
Many methods have been suggested to work towards overcoming pedophobia. Severe cases of the phobia should be treated by a professional, while less severe cases can be treated by taking simple steps toward familiarizing oneself with children and children's issues. As with any phobia, understanding the cause of the fear of children is important in overcoming it. Most people who develop a fear of children do so because of a negative past experience with children or children's issues, and understanding that cause may help alleviate the fear. The most severe cases of pedophobia can lead to violence toward children, and such severe cases should be dealt with immediately both by professional mental health specialists and law enforcement agencies.