MP Tim Loughton has joined a debate on “sexting” and the sexual grooming of children.
In his role as children’s minister, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham responded to a Westminster Hall debate on the issue.
“Sexting” involves the sharing of sexually suggestive messages or images, primarily between mobile phones. The latest Ofcom figures suggest about 50 per cent of eight to 11 year olds and 88 per cent of 12 to 15 year olds own a mobile phone.
Mr Loughton said: “The use of technology to groom children through the internet and social networking is already a real concern and mobile phones are an addition to this.
“We are working towards greater industry co-operation as well as a focus on early intervention and making sure parents and teachers explain sharing sexual content digitally can be very dangerous.”
He also called for parents to take more responsibility in monitoring children’s internet activity, adding: “Having a Facebook page, you should be at least 13 to do that.
“We know the temptations for younger children to set up a Facebook site and get involved with those social media.
“And I also know, in too many cases, they do that aided and abetted by parents. So it’s not just a question of giving information to parents, it’s making sure parents are acting responsibly on behalf of their children, too.”