Almost three quarters of children surveyed admitted giving their email address, a photograph of themselves or their phone number to a stranger they met online, figures showed today.
The figures were announced as it emerged yesterday the Government will introduce new measures to help protect children from internet paedophiles. Today, researchers revealed that 73 per cent of seven to 16-year-olds had handed over the personal information over the internet to someone they had never met.
The survey also found two thirds of parents make no attempt to monitor their children’s online activities.
Less than one in three parents check which websites their children visit, who they chat to online or set limits on their time spent on the web, the researchers said.
The study by youth website Dubit Limited looked at 1,000 children in the age group and revealed many of them were ignoring safety warnings and putting themselves at risk.
A separate ICM poll showed the availability of anti-paedophile and anti-bullying technology was the most important factor for adults when buying a computer.
Both surveys were carried out on behalf of Leeds-based child protection technology firm Crisp Thinking, which will launch an "anti-grooming engine" (AGE) in the new year.
The new technology, which would be installed with internet service providers and instant messaging networks, is designed so it can not be easily switched off by children.
It analyses conversations taking place in public and private chat rooms and assesses whether a relationship poses a threat to a young person, flagging up any inappropriate actions.
Inventor Adam Hildreth, of Crisp Thinking, said: "Although child protection technology is seen as an important factor for parents, many of them do not understand how it operates or how best to monitor the internet usage of their children.
"In many households children are just left to get on with it as some parents don’t have the time to keep an eye on their online activities.
"It is also quite disturbing to consider that young people are also ignoring safety warnings and are openly divulging private information to strangers.
"I believe that part of the solution is the development of our AGE technology, which will provide the peace of mind protection families need to safeguard young people from potential grooming or bullying.
"By monitoring the language of developing conversations online, AGE can flag up any potential attempt to draw young people into an unhealthy relationship."
Meanwhile, Home Secretary John Reid said on television yesterday that a new task group was being set up to look at tackling the problem of online child abusers.
He said he wanted to introduce a "kite mark" standard for computer programs so parents could feel confident their children were safe on the web.
The Home Secretary said: "Protecting children is probably the biggest obligation of a civilised society."
* ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,010 adults aged 18 and over by telephone across the UK between 27-30 October 2006. Dubit Limited surveyed 1,000 children aged seven to 16.