Parents should take the time to talk to their children about internet safety ahead of the "most connected Christmas ever", research suggests.

According to a study by telecoms giant O2 and children's charity the NSPCC, eight in 10 parents are giving their child a connected device, such as a tablet or games console, for Christmas, but more than half do not plan on speaking to them about internet safety.

According to a survey of British parents, 55% of new devices will be for those aged four and under, but most will choose not to activate any parental controls.

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NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "Just as you would set up your child's new bike before wrapping it up, we want to encourage all parents to do the same with their child's new tablet or phone.

"Once the parental controls and privacy settings are in place, help them learn to use it.

"In just the same way as you would help your child learn to ride a bike with stabilisers, you can help them learn about the online world; exploring it together and having regular, informed conversations is the best way to keep them safe online."

According to the charity, thousands of inappropriate websites are reported and taken down each year, with tens of thousands of indecent images also reported. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) flagged more than 70,000 indecent images in 2012 alone, according to its most recent report.

It is for these reasons, and wider issues such as cyberbullying and hacking, that the NSPCC says it is encouraging more conversations on internet safety. The charity has launched a new advice line and web guide focused solely on online safety, in partnership with O2.

A guide for parents to the 50 most popular apps used by young people, called NetAware, has also been created in collaboration with Mumsnet.