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Children's safety over privacy, says MP

A Christian Tory MP says parents should insist on seeing their children's texts and their internet activity. Claire Perry, who is David Cameron's adviser on childhood, said mums and dads must challenge the idea that these should be kept private.

The mother of three said children in every school in the country are sending each other explicit images of themselves. Miranda Suit from Safermedia told Premier's Marcus Jones during the News Hour that she agrees with the MP.

In an interview in the Daily Mail Mrs Perry said parents should feel 'empowered' to challenge their offspring about their use of mobile phones and social media sites.

She said:

"In a way we have all been complicit. We can't say it's all government's responsibility, or industry's or parents' – we have got to work together.

"When you and I were growing up the idea your parents would allow you to communicate daily with strangers, that you would have letters or phone calls coming into your home, would have been bizarre.

"Yet we have now given our kids the space to be private with their phones and internet connections.

"This whole issue of peer-to-peer contact is very difficult. You can't filter it using technology. 

"Parents are not monitoring it and we don't feel we should. I said to my daughter, 'perhaps I should read your texts' and she looked at me like I was insane. I thought, 'well actually I am paying for it'."

These Premier listeners gave their views. 

Her proposals to David Cameron include a better system for parents and children to report inappropriate behaviour online and a crackdown on raunchy music videos and children's access to lads mags.

Mrs Perry was appointed by the PM after leading a campaign for an opt-in system for online porn in households with children. Back in October 2011, the Prime Minister hosted a summit on tackling the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.

It followed the publication of a report called 'Letting Children be Children', written by the Chief Executive of the Mothers' Union, Reg Bailey.  It made a series of practical recommendations including putting age restrictions on music videos and covering up sexualised images on the front pages of magazines and newspapers so they are not in easy sight of children.

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