British children spend an average of 43.5 hours online each week.
However a report by Symantec found that UK parents believe their children are online for 18.8 hours per week. The research also found that in many cases, the net was providing a new way for families to communicate.
Its ‘Online Living report' found that 20 per cent of adult respondents had caught their children looking at unsuitable websites, and 81 per cent said they were confident that their knew what they children were looking at online.
In contrast, 31 per cent of the UK children in the survey said their parents did not know what they were doing online.
Symantec's internet safety advocate Marian Merritt, said: “It's not about coming down hard on them when they encounter inappropriate content. The internet is a great place to learn and to play, but there have to be boundaries.”
Among all the parents questioned, 75 per cent said they talked to their children about staying safe online, with more than half of UK parents putting software controls, such as filters, on a family PC to keep children away from inappropriate content.