Claire Perry, David Cameron's 'childhood guru' has warned that boys as young as 11 and 12 are sending sexually explicit photographs and messages via social media.
During a Commons debate on ending violence against women, Ms Perry told MPs that 'sexting' was increasingly commonplace in schools and was a problem which cut across the social divide, claiming that she had heard of a serious incident of sexual abuse at a leading independent school.
The Telegraph reports that she cited the tragic story of 13-year-old Chevonea Kendall-Bryan, who allegedly jumped to her death after a video of her performing a sex act on a boy was made on a mobile phone.
Claire Perry said that social networking sites allowed images to easily be shared and then instantly deleted.
"I don't mean to scaremonger but it seems to me that we are conducting a long-term experiment with our children, particularly our girls and young women, in exposing them in such a free way to the sorts of violent, degrading, and often very sexualised content in the online world," she said.
"This is a huge, growing and endemic problem. We have no idea how big the problem is."
Ms Perry told the Commons that 80 per cent of boys aged 15-17 were regularly accessing hardcore pornography and that 'boys as young as 11 and 12 are sending highly inappropriate photographs of their genitalia around the networks via social media'.
"Fundamentally, this is a behavioural point and what we have to look at is education. There is no technology right now that can protect our children against this sort of thing," she said.
More on Parentdish: The dangers of teenage sexting