Is it a good idea to snoop on your child’s texts and social media messages?

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Parents should snoop on their child’s texts and social media messages, David
Cameron’s new advisor on childhood has claimed – but what do YOU think ?

How do you monitor your child’s social media activity and keep an eye on what they’re saying, and who they are saying it to, and what they are posting up ?

MP Claire Perry said that it is “bizarre” that children’s internet and mobile exchanges are seen as private in a world where they are constantly threatened by online dangers.

In her first interview since being appointed last month she told the Daily Mail that society has been “complicit” in allowing a culture when young people can have inappropriate contact with strangers 24 hours a day.

Mother of three Mrs Perry, 48, also revealed “absolutely horrific” trend of children are “sexting” each other – sending explicit images on their phones – which was “happening in pretty much every school in the country,”

The Tory MP for Devizes has now called on parents to take responsibility and challenge their offspring about their use of technology and the internet – even demanding to look when necessary.

If they want to keep youngsters offline at 2am adults should simply turn off the router when they go to bed, she said, pointing out that parents do have the power to “turn off” the internet and block their children from inappropriate contact.

I have  to say I’m with Claire on this one – far too many parents I coach delegate all that responsibility to their young kids or teenagers and let’s face it that’s a bit like giving the keys to your car to a kid who hasn’t passed their test yet !

In her role as David Cameron’s adviser on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood she has set out a range of proposals for change, including a better system to report inappropriate online behaviour, a crackdown on raunchy music videos and access to lads mage, internet safety classes in schools, and labelling of airbrushed celebrity images.

She claimed that she wasn’t in the business of stopping “Rihanna gyrating around” but pointed out that parents should be able to stop their children watching it, suggesting a classification system on music videos.

Mrs Perry believes that parents have lost the confidence to protect their children. She said: “We have got to be much franker, much more open and upfront about it. I don’t want it to sound like harking back to Victorian values, but parents should sit down with their kids and say “are you aware of what’s out there?”.”

Although she also admitted that her daughter looked at her like she was “insane” when she asked to read her text messages.

The MP is now calling on parents to work with the government and the industry – pointing out that less than 40 per cent of families have internet filters and many parents do not feel that they have a responsibility to monitor usage.

Mrs Perry, who is already being attacked on Twitter, said she was prepared to be branded “the Mary Whitehouse of the 2010s”.

But she added: “When I am finished I want Britain to be absolutely leading the world in online child safety.”

Read the artcile here in The Telegraph


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