Parents are snooping online to keep an eye on their teenage children's internet habits, new research claims.

A survey by the National Citizen Service found that nearly three quarters of parents (72%) believe they should keep an eye on what their children are doing on social media, while 73% said they thought they should check what else their teenagers look at online.

The research also claims that some parents are acting on this belief, with 17% of 16 and 17-year-olds claiming their parents have checked messages and calls on their phone without permission - rising to 24% in London.

The National Citizen Service's Natasha Kizzie said: "Teens and their parents often have to navigate changes in their relationship as young people enter adulthood.

"For both teenagers and their parents or guardians, freedom and independence is a natural part of growing up.

"Technology is a great facilitator. Parents and guardians just want to know that their son or daughter is safe."

The research also suggested teenagers had some sympathy for their parents' position, with more than two thirds of teenagers in the survey (68%) saying they felt their mobile phone did give them more freedom, but 85% added they understood that checking their phone made parents feel safer, knowing they can contact them at any time.

Some 62% of young women in the survey also said their parents would likely allow them less freedom to go out if they did not have a mobile phone.

According to 2015 statistics from Ofcom, 90% of 16-24-year-olds in the UK now own such a device.