Reports say British parents have been named among the worst informed in the world as to how much time their children spend surfing the Internet, and what they look at online.
A Norton Online Report says that parents in the UK believe that their children spend 18.8 hours a month on the Internet, while they actually spend about 43.5 hours online.
AdvertisementDuring a survey of 9,000 internet users worldwide, British parents were found to be more likely to set internet controls to ensure that their children were not looking at unsuitable sites.
The survey revealed that about 54 per cent of British parents had set controls as compared to around a third worldwide.
While 81 per cent of parents surveyed said that they were well informed as to what their children were looking at online, 31 per cent of children said that their parents did not have any idea.
The survey also showed parents were taking responsibility for their children's safety, with 93 per cent saying it was for them to ensure their children's online safety, rather than teachers or internet service providers.
Marian Merritt, of the computer software company Symantec, said that there was evidence that families were becoming better at sharing information about internet safety partly because more parents were "befriending" their children on social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, and MySpace.
While a third of British children are befriending their parents on social networking sites, 65 per cent parents feel confident about discussing issues concerning privacy and personal information.
The survey also showed that one in five parents had found their children looking at something inappropriate on the Internet, and had reprimanded them about it.
Merritt, however, said that the growth of social networking sites, and the decline of the popularity of chatrooms, were reducing the risk of "stranger danger".
"Having an open discussion with your children is something we really encourage. It's not about coming down hard on them when they encounter inappropriate content, as the internet is a great place to learn and to play, but there have to be boundaries. Kids in the UK are pretty internet savvy, and parents need to keep up," the Scotsman quoted Merritt, who was part of a team that advised the government on internet safety, as saying.
The survey also found the internet often helped bring families closer together, with 67 per cent of UK adults saying that it made keeping in touch easier, and 58 per cent saying that it had improved offline relationships.
One in five UK adults use a webcam at least once a week to keep in touch with family and friends.