Four out of five parents that use parental control software don't turn it on, despite being concerned about their children's online safety, says McAfee.
Research by the security firm revealed a further 52 percent of parents admitted they never changed the security settings on their parental controls software while 20 percent admitted to being unsure as to whether they level of security. Nearly two thirds of parents also said they hadn't raised the subject of online security with their children.
McAfee highlighted that just under half of parents claim to monitor their children's online activities, however 30 percent said they left their children alone in their bedroom to surf the web. The survey also highlighted that 26 percent of all five to seven year olds have a computer in their bedroom and 17 percent of them are allowed to browse the web.
Meanwhile 46 percent of parent's said they were unaware their children had any social networking profiles on sites such as Facebook.
When it comes to maintaining the family PC, the task tends to fall to dads, with 88 percent of men saying they were responsible for installing and monitoring security software on their home PC. The survey showed that twice as many Dad's compared to Mum's actively seek out information on the latest online threats and 13 percent of mum's claimed their kids were more internet savvy than they were.
"While it is encouraging to see from our research that online security seems to be firmly on parents' agendas, the findings reveal that there are some crucial gaps in awareness and simple active protection which if addressed could fast take safe family surfing to the next level, enabling children to get the most that the Internet has to offe," says Greg Day, security analyst at McAfee
"Parents should also look to turn their children's internet usage at home into a joint learning experience - where children teach parents about new online tools and trends and parents act as advisers. This should not be left to one parent as they should take a shared approach, as a fragmented approach will mean valuable insight is lost. This will help to open up family discussions and create a more informed and safer surfing experience."
Take part in PC Advisor's Broadband Survey 2009
See also: 51% of kids surf the web unsupervised