Pop beauty BRITNEY SPEARS still labels herself a role model for children, despite her new raunchy image and revelations of drug taking and masturbation.

The 21-year-old ME AGAINST THE MUSIC star - who also sparked controversy following her steamy kiss with Madonna at this year's (03) MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS - insists parents should not be alarmed if their kids want to mimic her.

She says, "I probably have more older fans than the younger ones but I think the reason why everyone talks about the younger fans so much is because the parents are concerned.

"And in the end they shouldn't be concerned because they should trust their kids and believe in their kids. I think it's a beautiful thing to be able to see your kids play around and, you know, not take it so seriously. It's about performance. It's not that deep."

And Spears has slammed people for taking offence to her "explicit" photo shoots, because the saucy images are actually presenting her in "a positive light".

She adds, "I've just recently done some covers that are a little bit explicit and sexy. And a lot of people do think this is very over-explicit, but that's their opinion.

"If they want to misconstrue what I'm trying to present myself as, then that's their problem. I think it's a positive thing to be able to express yourself in a positive light."

17/11/2003 09:53