| 5.3°C Dublin

Daughters' privacy is under threat as they leave childhoods behind

THEY had a long day -- so First Daughters Malia (14) and Sasha (11) Obama must have been thrilled to return home to the White House last night.

They were with their parents -- US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle -- as they touched down at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington DC.

The sisters, who have been carefully shielded from public gaze up to now, have come through a very public 24 hours since their father's re-election as president.

But the teens have shown they can take the blaze of media attention in their stride.

During the Obama first presidential term, mainstream press honoured the girls' privacy, allowing them to do normal things like going out to the movies with their friends without worrying about paparazzi.

President Obama's re-election, however, has allowed to the world to see that Sasha and Malia are no longer two small children.

It will be quite a challenge from now for the Obama parents to keep their "smart beautiful young women" hidden from public attention.