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bullies when Here's looking fail at you, kids; Gordon Ramsay said he set up a spy camera in his daughter's room ..but how far should worried far. parents go?

Byline: Karen Bale

TV chef Gordon Ramsay sparked controversy this week when he claimed he had a spy camera installed in his teenage daughter's bedroom.

He told Jonathan Ross on his TV show on Saturday night he wanted to check Megan, 15, and her boyfriend were indeed studying for their exams while in the room, as she claimed they were doing, and paid his 13-year-old son PS20 to install the small device.

Ramsay, 46, later claimed it was just a joke but his comments have sparked a national debate.

We live in a society where parents are terrified their kids could be targeted by cyber-bullies or paedophiles.

We worry that they might fail their exams, fall pregnant, experiment with legal highs or drink too much.

But just how far is too far when it comes to keeping a close eye on our kids? The National Parent Forum of Scotland believes spying on your kids will simply break down any trust between parent and child.

It said: "Children are entitled to privacy and a camera in a child's bedroom sounds like a step too far.

"It would be a recipe for disaster in terms of developing trust.

"Would parents like it if their children put spy cameras in their bedrooms? Probably not."

Just last year, US college student Aubrey Ireland, then 21, was granted a civil stalkiking ng order stalking against her parents due to their overprotective behaviour that included installing monitoring software on her electronics.

In theory, a child could claim their civil rights were being breached if a parent spied on them in the privacy of their bedroom.

Solicitor Paul Sheridan, of Latta & Co, a Glasgow specialist in human rights, said: "The issue here is a child's right to privacy.

"Article eight of the European Convention of Human Rights gives us all the right to a private family life. If, as a parent, you're going to interfere, it must be to pursue a legitimate aim, it must be proportionate - and necessary. If there are other alternatives, they must be pursued.

"In any case of a parent being concerned about whether a child is studying in her bedroom with her boyfriend, you could stop the child going to study in her bedroom, you could leave the bedroom door open or not allow her boyfriend in her bedroom."

" Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: "Secret surveillance should be the last resort, not something you jumpthe first opportunity.

at at "People are this is really proportionate doubt rightly asking if oportionate and I doumany parents would feel comfortable doing it."

And Justine Roberts, chief executive of online parenting community Mumsnet, believes parents need to reach a point where they let go - and allow their children the freedom they crave.

She said: "Difficult as it is for parents to loosen the reins, Mumsnet users would say that at some point you have to accept your children are not babies any more and you just have to trust them and keep the lines of communication open.

"Should you try surveillance, that will almost certainly end up alienating your teenagers."

'Spy cameras would be a recipe for disaster in terms of developing trust'


IN HOT WATER Gordon Ramsay

KEEPING WATCH Should parents spy on their child in the privacy of their own bedroom?
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 22, 2013
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