Checking kids’ texts, would you do as Perry suggests?

I spent the morning cowering over my steaming tea in Cricklade High Street. Even that and positioning myself directly under the overhead heater didn’t succeed in defrosting my feet. (Three pairs of thermal socks clearly not enough for 40 minutes waiting for the No 53 bus in the slush at the Link).

Stacey’s do a mean full English. And you get a good slice of local life from the windows. And what you miss, you can pick up on Heart FM.

This morning it was Claire Perry. In my frozen state, I confused her with Katy Perry. Until Molly or Jez (I’m not sure which) jogged my memory. Claire Perry is MP for Devizes. She’s also David Cameron’s child protection tzar or “police state nutter” (depending on your perspective).

Cameron has charged Perry with spear-heading the Bailey report into childhood sexualisation. I wrote about the Bailey report nearly eighteen months ago. Since then, not alot has happened. In today’s Telegraph, Cathy Newman asks, “Why so much talk, so little action?”

claire perry mp head and shoulders

Claire Perry MP


Next week, we can expect the Government’s response to Bailey. Perry’s interview on the Daily Politics was a bit of a fanfare. Preoccupied with defrosting and dodging Junior’s snowballs (there’s probably a link to violent film footage there somewhere), it rather passed me by. But catching up on today’s news later this evening, I can see it created a bit of a stir. Well, a ripple at any rate.

Perry suggested that, as parents, we take back some responsibility for what our kids get up to. (If you want to see the interview, rather than read the Daily Mail’s version, there’s a six-minute clip on You Tube). Most controversially, she suggested we check our offspring’s texts.

Putting aside the technological challenge this may involve for some of us, is it a good idea? Is it ethical? The jury’s split. Good common sense (one tweet) or an attack on civil liberties and a snooper’s charter (Big Brother Watch)?

Children need their independence and privacy (although I still find my seven-year old’s current obsession with using every font on Publisher to write Keep Out Mum signs slightly disturbing). But they need safety and protection too.

My guess is, though, curiosity may tip the balance. It’s hard to resist glancing at an open diary or clicking the history pages on your child’s internet browser. Or, perhaps, that’s just me.

In any case, a so-called snooper’s charter won’t make much difference. In the right circumstances (i.e. zero chance of discovery) I’ll still peek, whatever any politician or pundit says.

More difficult is what to do with the knowledge. Charter or not, I’d hate Junior to think I was checking up on him….


About sarah

Old enough to know better, still young enough not to care. Property lawyer, sometime developer, writer and mother, coffee lover and cat-napper. I blog about life as a mum in North Wilts.
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