Despite urgent calls for improving online safety, an internet awareness survey conducted by British children’s charity, the NSPCC (The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Children), has revealed how easy it still is for children to access dangerous and harmful adult material online.

The Net Aware report found that half of school children across the UK have seen sexual, violent and other adult content on social media sites.

The charity has listed the top five sites where children, aged between 11 and 18, had reported witnessing ‘inappropriate’ material. 100% of children who had browsed Sickipedia had noted seeing adult content, compared with 92% on Chatroulette, 89% on Omegle, 88% on Ask.fm, and 74% on Yik Yak.

The survey also found that almost 80% of children had registered to social media sites before reaching the minimum age of 13.

According to the NSPCC, the research, which involved the participation of 1,725 children and young people and 500 parents, has ‘shown that children are far more likely than parents to report seeing sexual, violent, or other adult content on social media.’

NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless, noted: ‘It’s vital that parents sit down together with their children regularly to talk about which social media sites they are using, and how to get help if they need it.’

Wanless added that over 60% of young people said that social media sites need to do more to keep children safe – ‘Companies need to take more responsibility for keeping children safe online. We think there should be minimum standards in place and a new regulator may be required if industry can not regulate itself.’

As part of the Net Aware guide, produced in partnership with O2, a new mobile app has been released as a parental reference of the 50 most popular social networking sites, apps and games, used by young people. The resource hopes to ‘help [parents] talk to their children about socialising safely online.’