PARENTS are being urged to put online safety on top of their festive things to do if their children have received smartphones, tablets or games consoles this Christmas.

The advice from NSPCC and O2 comes as a survey of 442 parents of five to 10 yea rolds found that 46 per cent did not have parental controls set up on internet-enabled devices. Only 30 percent have them installed through their home broadband.

Overall just 29 per cent said they were confident that the controls in place were insufficient.

“The online world can be full of fun and wonder for children and no doubt tablets, smart phones and games consoles will have featured on many Christmas lists this year," said Tony Stower, head of child safety online at the NSPCC.

"But the internet is not without its risks for children who can stumble across inappropriate content or even become victims of online abuse.

“That’s why it’s vital that every parent who has bought an internet-connected device this Christmas sets up parental controls to help protect their children from online risks. It’s also a good idea for parents to have regular conversations with their children about staying safe online and how to report something that upsets them.”

The NSPCC and O2 joined forces in 2015 with the aim of helping parents keep their children safe online.

The partnership now offers advice to parents through Net Aware (www.net-aware.org.uk), the Icebreaker email series and the Online Safety Helpline

Parents can also book an appointment with an O2 Guru in their local O2 store to get advice on keeping children safe online or setting up parental controls.

Stephanie McNamee, O2 NSPCC helpline agent added: “With many children getting their hands on new tech over the festive period it's a great time to set up some parental controls. Parents can use controls to block upsetting or harmful content, manage in-app purchases or how long children spend online.

“It may feel daunting but parents don’t need to be technical experts as controls are easy to set up and help is available to get started. If you’re not sure where to start, experts from the O2 NSPCC helpline can help.”

For help on a specific issue call experts at the O2 & NSPCC Online Safety Helpline - 0808 800 5002, or make an appointment to see an O2 Guru in store.