Kids online twice as much as parents think

UK children spend 43.5 hours online each month, logging on more than twice as much as their parents think they do.

According to research by Symantec, parents believe their sweet darlings spend just 18.8 hours surfing the net each month.

While rather unsurprisingly parents around the world misjudged their offspring's online time, UK parents had one of the "largest perception gaps," the Norton Online Living Report claimed.

But parents are starting to wise up, Symantec said. Last year, one in five kids said they looked at online content their parents wouldn't approve of. This year, one in five parents caught their children viewing inappropriate content so at least the little tykes are getting caught out.

"Having an open discussion with your children is something we really encourage," said Marian Merritt, Symantec's internet safety advocate, in a statement.

"It's not about coming down hard on them when they encounter inappropriate content, as the internet is a great place to learn and to play, but there have to be boundaries," she added. "Kids in the UK are pretty internet savvy, and parents need to keep up. We are encouraged by what we're seeing, but there's still work to be done by parents."

Indeed, the online generational divide may be slowly moving shut. The survey suggests a third of UK kids had added their parents as a friend on Facebook or another social networking site.

And, 65 per cent of parents said they feel extremely knowledgeable discussing online privacy with their little ones, with one in six giving up face-to-face chats in favour of the internet for touchy subjects.