Children as young as five years old could be a risk when using the internet, according to new research.
In a survey by Intel Security of 1,000 children, 28% admitted to having an online conversation with someone they did not know.
Among the five to 12-year-old children quizzed in the study, 23% said they had spoken to a stranger online.
The problem is a nationwide one, with 21% of children in the West Midlands saying they have had online conversations with strangers once or twice, and 14% of children in Northern Ireland revealing they ‘regularly talk’ to people they do not know in the internet.
Children in London were most likely to accept friend requests from people they did not know, with more than one in ten (12%) admitting they do this.
The research also revealed that parents may not be aware of the risks their children are potentially facing when online, with a third of respondents saying they are not supervised when using the internet.
Only 40% of respondents aged between five and 12 years old said they were supervised the whole time when using the Internet, and 15% of youngsters said their parents never supervise their online activity.
“Teaching children the best practices for safe online behaviour right from the start will be invaluable to them as they grow up,” said Nick Viney, VP consumer at Intel Security. “We all have a responsibility – parents, teachers and technology experts – to ensure children understand how to protect themselves from the potential risks online, and that comes as a result of greater education and by having ongoing conversations with children.
“Safer Internet Day should act as a reminder to ensure we are all practicing good, and safe, online behaviour.”
Intel Security has teamed up with Bletchley Park to send its cyber security experts to visit schools across the country, beginning in Bletchley Park’s local Buckinghamshire area, to tech children how to protect themselves online.