A new survey has revealed that nearly half of Irish schoolchildren say their parents are completely unaware of what they are doing online, including lying about their age and having hurtful comments posted about them.

The survey by the Irish Computer Society assessed the online activity of 1,140 Irish primary and secondary schoolchildren and suggests that parents are coming up short when it comes to monitoring what their children are doing online.

Thirty-nine percent of girls and 45 percent of boys said their parents had no idea of the sort of websites they were visiting.

Fifty-three percent of boys and 47 per cent of girls admitted to “adjusting their age” online, while 24 percent of girls and 23 percent of boys said they had been subject of cyberbullying at some point, reports the Irish Times.

Five percent of girls and 7 percent of boys admitted to posting hurtful comments about others online.

As for listing the main reasons for using the internet, both boys and girls go online for social networking and surfing, but their is a gender divide when it comes to online shopping and games.

Eighty-three percent of girls and 77 percent of boys said social networking was their main reason for being online, and 62 percent of girls and 69 percent of boys listed internet surfing as one of the main reasons for going online.  

Fifty-seven percent of boys used the internet for games compared to just 32 percent of girls, while 41 percent of girls cited shopping as their reason for being online compared to 38 percent of boys.

Seventy percent of girls said schoolwork was also a main reason for going online in comparison to 55 percent of boys.