I don’t know how much the post-Parkland protesters are acting directly from their own hearts — it’s politically expedient to see them as saints! — but if they are protected from criticism, it creates a dangerous incentive to adults who want immunity from criticism.
There are so many children around, and it is the way of the world for millennia to seize upon these handy little creatures — they’re everywhere! — and use them to do the work adults want done. I’m not saying that’s what’s already happened with the post-Parkland protesters, just that the kid-gloves treatment of these vocal participants in the public dialogue sends a message to conniving adults that there’s a special benefit to using children.
There are consequences.
I’m thinking of the use of minors in criminal activities, which is facilitated by the benevolence of the juvenile court system.