London, September 27 : British children who are kept indoors for longer duration are more prone to online predators than their European counterparts, claims a new survey.
According to the study by co-author Dr Leslie Haddon, of the EU Kids Online project, worried parents, in order to safeguard their children against street dangers, are exposing their kids to dangerous online situations at home.
The experts said that by trying to confine the kids within the four walls, the parents were actually increasing their kids' number of online hours.
Based at the London School of Economics, the survey revealed that more than one in four young people in the UK has received "unwanted sexual comments" while using the internet as compared with just one in 10 in Germany and Ireland.
It also found that 17 per cent of children under six used the net in Britain, twice as many as in Europe in general.
"Our study has found that greater use of the internet results in more exposure to risk," Telegraph quoted Dr Leslie Haddon as saying.
"It's not the case, as some have assumed, that the more experienced you are online the more easy you find it to avoid risks," she added.
The study allots the cause of unsupervised kids using the Internet to factors such as single-parent families, divorces, and children born outside marriages that are greater in number in Britain than in other countries in Europe.
"Although more and more children and young people may be under greater supervision overall, by virtue of being in homes, within the privacy of their bedrooms their access to the online world is less easy to supervise," the study concluded.