There is reason for concern, Marc, that in your statement of the trade-off as between your “peace of mind” and “the safety of [your] kids” on one side and “being presumed a predator” on the other, you are missing negatives to the former and exaggerating the benefits of the latter. Arguably, the price of your peace of mind is not paid by you, but by your children: in the effects of a personal and cultural mindset that requires even daddy to be lumped with predators.
Where is the room for male role models (let alone heroes)? Where is the possibility of trust crucial to the development of future relationships? Although I don’t have any relevant data (and wouldn’t be sure how to collect it), personal experience with failed relationships, including others’ divorces, leaves me suspecting that “the side of caution” is also the side of loneliness and isolation.
Furthermore, it is at least plausible that said isolation has a reinforcing corollary in the exacerbation of men’s tendency toward dysfunctional expression of their sexual drives. The lifelong suspicion against them, expressed most intimately in the difficulties it creates in their personal relationships, may actually manifest in predatory behavior. Thus from the fears and insecurities of parents is a world created that more readily creates monsters — becoming such because they are presumed to be so, anyway, and kept at arms length from what should be normal behavior with adults — and stigmatizes innocents as presumed victims, spreading among them a dulled version of the deleterious psychological effects that actual victimhood can cause.
We must take what precautions we personally feel necessary, of course, but extending those precautions to the level of cultural truisms — to the point of plastering billboards with a picture of a man’s hand holding a child’s as if to cross the street, with impropriety insinuated in the caption — makes a harmful virtue of cowardice.