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Wrong." Chris Cloke, the head of child protection awareness at the NSPCC, said the results reflected other research that has shown young girls are increasingly exposed to sexual images and language.

"We are very concerned that young children are living in an ever more sexual environment," he said.

Teen websites and magazines and high-street retailers have repeatedly come under fire for inappropriate sexual imagery and language.

Last year, Asda withdrew pink and black lace lingerie, including a push-up bra marketed to nine-year-olds, after complaints from parents.

In 2004 teachers called for age limits on the magazines after Sugar published a 12-page feature in partnership with the condom manufacturer Durex.

Film Hollywood has long known the value of the market, churning out a stream of movies aimed at the eight- to 13-year-old audience.

The retailer Bhs was forced to withdraw underwear with a "Little Miss Naughty" logo.

Researchers contacted the girls anonymously through a major chatsite, and recorded their online conversations, some lasting several hours.The five-year study, the first of its kind, looked into the sexual behaviour of 1,300 pre-teens, and revealed that, on the internet at least, young girls' lives are "filled with sexual behaviour of one sort or another".It concludes that almost all parents are "virtually clueless" about what their daughters are up to."The girls overwhelmingly report that their parents are unaware of their sexual chatting on the internet, even though it occurred regularly throughout the day," says Joan Atwood, who led the study."These girls are at risk for pregnancy and for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, [and for] the psychological effects.

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