18 per cent of children now arrange offline meet ups with people met online

A survey of internet usage amongst young people has highlighted the scope of ‘risky’ behaviour amongst many; including the startling statistic that nearly one in five had arranged to meet friends they knew solely via the web.

Whilst a majority towed along an adult or older sibling to these meetings a third admitted they just went along with friends.

The survey of 1,162 children aged nine to 11 was conducted by ISC2 IT security education group, found that many children are sharing personal information and playing games aimed at much older players.

A key risk factor for being online include the amount of time youngsters spend logged in – a factor which has increased, with fully 43 per cent of those surveyed going online every day and 46 per cent of those spending more than two hours online at a time, with 22 per cent remaining online after 21:00 and a minority, 7 per cent, still online after midnight..

Whilst online the most popular activities cited were playing video games (23%), using social networks (18%) and watching videos (17%).

Report author Tim Wilson said: “Primary school children know far more about the internet than their parents do. Youngsters actually participate in a lot of risky behaviours that I don't believe the parents know about. Not because of any ill will on behalf of the parents, it's just that the parents do not understand technology."

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