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Shocking new research suggests that over 1.8 million of primary school kids, ages 6 – 11, have sent sexually explicit messages on apps such as Facebook and Snapchat.

The same study found a further fifth have received rude or risky messages or even sexually explicit photographs.

Despite these alarming stats, two thirds of parents are not worried about what their children could be exposed to on their smart devices.

Almost a fifth of parents do not monitor what their children do online at all.

Data revealed girls were more likely to be caught sexting, with one in six sending rude messages, compared to just one in twenty boys.

Mobile phone insurance firm commissioned the research, which revealed that almost half of six to eleven-year-olds have been exposed to foul language online.

On average, parents said they planned to speak with their kids about online security when they were nine.

But the fresh findings suggest that one in six children had already been exposed to harmful materials by the time they reached that age.

When asked about what apps parents were most concerned about their child using, Facebook was listed as the most worrying with 42 per cent expressing concern.

Facebook was followed by Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and YouTube as the most worrisome apps.

Meanwhile online platforms such as Xbox, PlayStation and Minecraft were amongst the least concerning.

The survey also found that the average parent planned to speak with their child about sex at age ten.

Worryingly, seven per cent of parents admitted they aren't planning on speaking to them about sex at all, that number jumped to ten per cent when just asking dads.

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2,000 parents of 6-14 year olds surveyed. Full survey data can be sent. It has also been put into easy-read and valuable graphs on - please consider linking to it in any article.

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