More children 'using web profiles'
Nearly half of nine to 12-year-old internet users in the UK have a profile on a social networking site, according to a new survey.
The European Commission (EC) poll found 43% of youngsters in the age group had such a profile, with the figure rising to 88% for those aged between 13 and 16.
However, only about 10% in both categories set their profile to "public", allowing everyone to see it, including addresses and phone numbers if included.
Across Europe, on average, 38% of nine to 12-year-olds have an internet profile, compared with 77% of those aged between 13 and 16. A third of them allow open access to their details.
The figures are in a survey of 25,000 youngsters in 25 European countries, conducted for the EC and published by the EUKidsOnline network.
The commission said the findings confirmed the importance of a forthcoming review of its two-year-old deal with major networking sites on safer internet use.
Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner for the digital agenda, said: "Growing numbers of children are on social networking sites but many are not taking all necessary steps to protect themselves online.
"These children are placing themselves in harm's way, vulnerable to stalkers and groomers.
"All social networking companies should, therefore, immediately make minors' profiles accessible by default only to their approved list of contacts and out of search engines' reach.
"Those companies that have not yet signed up to the EU's safer networking principles should do so without delay so as to ensure our children's safety."