BARNSLEY’S only Conservative MP Miriam Cates has called for more to be done to protect children from the ‘wild west’ of the internet.

Mrs Cates, who represents the Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency, said that the impact of smartphones and social media on children is severe.

She said: “In tis country, we often take the physical safety of our children for granted.

“But imagine if our streets were so lawless that it was unsafe for children to leave their homes.

“Imagine if on their daily walk to school our children had to witness the beheading of strangers or the violent rape of women and girls.

“Imagine if when hanging out in the local park it was normal for hundreds of people to accost your child and encourage them to take their own lives.

“This is not a horror move or the wild west - this is the digital world that our children occupy often for hours a day.”

She has called for more to be done to support children from the internet.

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“The evidence of harm is irrefutable,” she added.

“Now is the time to act.

“This government may have, does have, less than a year in office.

“Surely we can use these next few months to introduce effective legislation to protect children from a real and present danger.”