One in five adults have personally experienced harm online or on social media, according to new research carried out by the Children's Rights Alliance.

A survey of over 1,000 people found that a fifth of them had experienced harm online, and 75% believe social media companies allow harmful material, including sexual images to be accessed by users.

Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance Tanya Ward told RTÉ's This Week the research shows Irish people "have had enough of light-touch regulation" and want to see big technology and social media companies, and online platforms regulated.

91% of respondents said the Government should "stand up to the big tech companies" and set rules that protect the public from harmful and illegal use.

"These findings not only show support for online safety measures, but demand for them. This is the Irish public sending a clear message to Government that they expect them to stand up to big tech and create laws which will ensure a safer online environment for themselves, for their children and for society as a whole," Ms Ward said.

Almost half of those surveyed believed the Government was responsible for harmful material by not introducing adequate online safety standards, and 46% said parents who allow their children to use the internet or social media were responsible for harm.

70% of adults polled believe social media companies had an obligation to reduce harm by filtering out harmful content before it is made public on their platforms.

70% of respondents also believed the Government should introduce laws to hold social media companies responsible for the content on their platforms

A majority of those surveyed believed parents and teachers were best placed to educate children about the dangers of social media, although 19% said social media companies should do this.