A worrying number of eight to 11 year-olds don't have any parental controls online, research has revealed.
More than a quarter of parents leave children in this impressionable age group at risk of viewing inappropriate content on their laptop, smartphone or tablet.
A study carried out ahead of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, 7 February revealed that 24% of children access the internet in their bedroom, which means parents may not always be aware of what they are doing or who they are talking to online.
A third of eight to 11 year-olds (33%) admitted having a Facebook account, even though it has a minimum age requirement of 13. A further 18% said they have a Snapchat account, with 17% on Instagram and 10% on Twitter.
9 ways parents can keep their children safer online.
1. Always use privacy settings.
2. When creating your password reset questions and answers, keep in mind how easy it might be to guess the answer – is the information readily available or easy to research? If so, it may be safer to choose a more difficult question.
3. Use different passwords for each account.
4. Avoid keeping your passwords written down and never store them on your web browser.
5. Never share a password and PINs with anyone.
6. Think before you share a photo.
7. Never give your information to someone you don’t know in the real world.
8. Don’t forget to download and install anti-virus and online security software which helps protect your computer from outside attacks, such as malware and viruses that could try to steal information.
9. If anyone on the internet makes you feel uncomfortable you must talk to your parents.
Lisa Hardstaff from consumer credit expert Equifax, which carried out the research, said: “Children are so tech-savvy today that it’s easy for parents to feel confident leaving them to it; however, kids and even young people still need advice and protection.
“Safer Internet Day highlights the issues, and offers parents and young people advice on everything from privacy settings to cyber-bullying and sexting, which is vital to ensure kids can enjoy the internet and stay safe.”