Children 'growing up too quickly'
The majority of parents believe their children are being forced to grow up too quickly, a study claimed.
Celebrity culture, adult style clothes and music videos are all guilty in parents' eyes of encouraging children to act older than they are, the Department for Education commissioned report claimed.
The survey, part of the independent Bailey Review of Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, found that 88% of people quizzed believed that children are under pressure to grow up too quickly.
And nearly half of parents were unhappy with programmes or adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed.
The survey aimed to find out what parents think and what help they need to manage the pressures on their children. The Bailey Review has also been listening to parents through focus groups and a call for evidence, which received an overwhelming response from parents.
Specific areas of parental concern revealed in the survey were that clothes were not age appropriate, that there existed increasingly sexualised content in music videos and pre-watershed TV with 'too adult' themes in some soap operas.
Parents also revealed that they felt under pressure to buy non-essential items for their children so they do not feel left out.
Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union, is leading an independent review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood said: "Parents are telling us in no uncertain terms that they are worried about the pressures on children to grow up too quickly.
"It is clear that their concerns have not been created out of a moral panic but from their everyday experience. They are struggling against the slow creep of an increasingly commercial and sexualised culture and behaviour, which they say prevents them from parenting the way they want."
Other findings from the survey revealed 40% of parents said they had seen things in public places (shop window displays, advertising hoardings) that they felt were inappropriate for children to see because of their sexual content. Some 41% of parents said they had seen programmes or adverts on TV before 9pm that they felt were unsuitable or inappropriate for children due to their sexual content.