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20% of UK kids meet up with Facebook 'strangers'

72% of parents snoop on their children

As many as 20 percent of UK kids have come face to face with a stranger they first 'met' online, a survey has revealed.

According to research by Garlik, 25 percent of 8- to 15-year-olds admitted they have actual strangers as virtual friends on Facebook, MySpace and other social-networking sites. Two-thirds revealed they have posted personal information on their pages, such as their mobile phone number.

The survey also looked at parents attitudes to the web and identified that 72 percent checked the websites being visited by their children. 89 percent also made a point of discussing online dangers with their offspring while 25 percent have resorted to secretly logging into their child's social networking accounts, to ensure they aren't befriending strangers.

Tom Ilube, chief executive officer of Garlik, said: What you find with young people is that they tend to be a lot looser with their personal information than more canny older people".

"That can be okay if they are in a fairly tightly controlled environment, but when they are in an environment where they're mixing with people much older than them, then that's something to be quite cautious about. Busy parents can't be expected to monitor their children's activities all the time. What are Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and the others doing to help?"

See also: Survey says 11% of kids have online sex chats

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