Parents' fear of technology and the internet is putting children's safety at risk, a UK children's agency says.
A poll, commissioned by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) Centre, showed about 80 per cent of children in the UK, aged between five and 15, are regular users of the internet.
But 61 per cent of parents had failed to set adequate online controls or did not have filters in place to keep their children safe, according to findings from independent regulator Ofcom.
The Ceop Centre has gone back to the 1950s with material that encourages parents to develop their skills in the online world, as it marks European Safer Internet Day 2012.
The material provides practical advice on what children may be doing online, covers issues that are sometimes hard to discuss, and helps parents talk to their child about online worlds, a spokeswoman said.
Peter Davies, chief executive of the Ceop Centre and the senior police officer leading on child protection on the internet for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said: "Technology has transformed people's lives both collectively and individually.
"It has changed how we communicate and socialise and children and young people are at the forefront - the real internet pioneers. For them it provides immense opportunity and excitement.
"But too often we see examples of where the child is at risk because they make simple online mistakes - because they are lured in or push the boundaries too far and risk their personal safety.
"We all have a role to play and today I want to encourage parents to engage with their child to help avoid these risks.
"I want to help them explore the online world with their child, to talk to them about how they are using the internet and, above all, do what parents have always done - think about safety from a practical point of view."