New research from CyberSafeIreland has found that a third of children have rarely or never spoken to their parents about online safety.

The charity, which teachers children how to protect themselves online, said there is not enough guidance and support available for parents, teachers and those working with children to deal with the variety of online risks faced by children.

CyberSafeIreland made the comments after new research it carried out found that a third of children rarely or have never spoken to their parents about online safety.

The survey also reveals that almost a fifth of children it surveyed were spending over four hours a day online and that the same number again were found to be in contact with a stranger.

The charity says there is not enough guidance and support for parents and teachers to help children deal with the variety of risks lurking online.

Over the past year, CyberSafeIreland surveyed over 1,000 children, parents and teachers who attended such training sessions.

It found significant evidence that not enough is being done to teach young people how to protect themselves online.

The charity also said too often it is seeing children taking risks by sharing personal information in videos and photos.

Over two thirds of primary teachers said they do not feel equipped to teach online safety.

Cyberbullying also remains an issue, with the charity identifying 219 incidents in the last year.

The not-for-profit body teaches children how to remain safe on the internet.

As a result, the charity says it is concerned that enough is simply not being done at national level to address the dangers and that as a society we are failing in our duty to protect children.

Launching its annual report, CyberSafeIreland has offered advice to parents and teacher about what they can do to help children remain safe online.

These include starting the conversation as soon as the child becomes interested in a phone or tablet, doing their own research about the apps, games and video being used and consumed and agree appropriate rules which must then be applied.

The research also found that Snapchat and Instagram remain the most popular instant messaging and social media apps among children, along with YouTube,, Viber, and WhatsApp.

While 12% of the children surveyed have appeared in YouTube videos.

The CEO of CyberSafeIreland has said the figure for contact with strangers is probably under-reported.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Alex Cooney said that when looking at feedback surveys she found "a number of children had crossed out their original answer, which suggested 'Some contact with strangers' and then put 'Never' instead."

Ms Cooney also explained the type of connections children are making online with strangers.

"This could be playing a game with strangers online, it could be friends who you don't know in real life through your social media accounts," she said. 

"Some of these connections could be perfectly harmless but of course there is some cause for concern when you don't know the other person," Ms Cooney added.