Parents are being conditioned by our news media to think that any male is a potential danger. It seems not a potential danger but a probable danger. Despite the statistics that show that children are more likely to be molested by family members, friends of the family, and people in "trusted" positions (clergy, teachers, coaches, camp councilers, boy/girl scout people...) than by total strangers.
Not saying that total strangers are not involved in child molestation, they are, but not to the extent being reported. Parents need to understand that most adults are not potential child molesters. It was one of the hardest things for me to learn as a parent/grandparent. You have to be alert, but not paranoid.
Like most issues pertaining to photography, it is not Black and White
If someone is exclusively taking pictures of little girls on swings/slides that is different from someone taking general pictures of a playground. The problem is that an observer will be unable to tell the difference. The only way to tell is to look at the pictures, which is starting to infringe on the personal rights of the photographer.
Photographers have the same rights as other people.
Unfortunately, I have knuckled-down to society and I avoid taking pictures that have other people's children in it. Once I was out in the field taking pictures of butterflies and three young girls entered the same field I was in.
What did I do? I quietly and quickly left. Being an older man, in the same isolated field as three strange girls is too much of a risk. Did I like it? no. Was it fair to me? no. But, I thought, and still think, it was the prudent thing to do.
Nothing is harder to prove than proving that you did NOT try to molest a little girl. And let's be honest, that whole innocent until proven guilty does not apply to old men when young girls are involved. A simple accusation is often enough.
A tog friend of mine told me a story (whether it is true or not I dunno). In England, where he lives, there were instances of a group of women with children asking a photographer to take pictures of their kids playing. They would then extort money from the photographer or claim that he was attempting to molest them. Yikes!
Talk about easy money, I am sure any photographer dumb enough to take pictures of strange kids without some witnesses would pay a lot.
So any talk about what rights photographers have or don't have is only part of the story. Photographers have to be careful, and to be sexist about it, male photographers have to be extra careful. If you are an old man. Forget it. It seems I am guilty even before being accused.
It is not right, it is not fair. I wish it were not this way. But no one ever said that life is fair or nice.