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Young net users engage in 'risky' behaviour

Many children aged nine to 11 are indulging in very risky behaviour online, suggests a survey.

Many are sharing personal information and playing games rated for much older children, found the survey drawn up by the ISC2 IT security education group.

In addition, 18% of the 1,162 children queried said they had arranged offline meetings with friends made via the web.

"Primary school children know far more about the internet than their parents do," said Tim Wilson, an information security worker who carried out the survey for the ISC2 organisation which helps schools educate children about web safety.

"Youngsters actually participate in a lot of risky behaviours that I don't believe the parents know about," he said. "Not because of any ill will on behalf of the parents, it's just that the parents do not understand technology."

The survey exposed the amount of time that younger children were spending online and what they got up to.

It found that 43% went online everyday and 46% spent more than two hours each time they browsed. Many (22%) regularly used it after 21:00 and a small percentage, 7%, were still online after midnight.

The most popular online activities were playing video games (23%), using social networks (18%) and watching videos (17%). Of the 19% who said they played war games online, a significant number said they played age inappropriate titles such as the 18-rated Black Ops and Modern Warfare.

"They are very knowledgeable but they do not have the adult life skills to understand what is risky ," he said.

For more on this story and related articles, please see the BBC News website.

[Text © 2013 BBC News]