childonlineThe government's adviser on childhood has suggested that all parents should check up on their children's online activity.

Claire Perry says the dangers of being on the internet mean adults should not feel bad about doing it.

The Conservative MP denies it is snooping and says she regularly has conversations with her daughter.

"I'm not suggesting that if her phone was on the kitchen table I would feel the need to go through it. That's like reading somebody's diary," she said.

In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, she added; "With my 13-year-old, I want to have a conversation with her about her texts, and say, 'Look. If there is something you're a little bit unsure of, let me see it'."

Ms Perry became the government's adviser on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood in December 2012 and has already led calls for age ratings for sexually provocative music videos, restrictions on access to so-called lads' mags, labelling on airbrushed photos in magazines and internet safety classes in schools.

She also thinks parents should challenge the idea that children have the right to keep online chats, text messages, tweets and Facebook conversations private.

"This is an uncomfortable area for people to talk about," she added. "I've been campaigning for more family-friendly access to the internet, so that inappropriate material - whether it's hardcore porn or pro-anorexia sites or pro-suicide sites - are filtered in the home.

"Parents seem to feel very helpless about this. I think that's a concern. We don't feel helpless about teaching our kids about road safety or trying to get them to eat healthily. Somehow the technology has terrified us.

"Parents are paying for these mobile contracts. We've given the kids this power and this responsibility for free. I think we have a responsibility to get involved."

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Posted 24/01/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com