British children as young as five are viewing TV shows with explicit sex and violence via well known TV internet services such as BBC iPlayer.
An investigation by TV regulator Ofcom found that highly impressionable children are bypassing strict guidelines and parental controls and watching adult shows which have unsuitable images and dialogue, leading to long-term concerns for their mental health.
Most TV catch-up websites, like iPlayer, ITV Player, and Channel 4's 4oD, operate a voluntary system which makes parents responsible for setting up a PIN or password to block access by children, the Daily Telegraph reports.
But Ofcom investigation also revealed that only 12 per cent of parents with children aged five to 15 had bothered to set up a PIN or password, and almost 40 per cent of parents had "no idea" the safeguards even existed.
It also found that three per cent of children from five to seven have internet in their own bedrooms, which they can use to watch the TV-on-demand websites.
"There are 19 million households with an internet connection in Britain, so this means that millions of children are downloading post-watershed adult material every day, sometimes without their parents' knowledge," the report said. (ANI)