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Are our children growing up too quickly?

Our children are the apples of our eye, but it seems like they don’t want to be their parents’ little sweethearts for long.

Our most recent survey discovered that 85% of parents in the UK think that their children are growing up too quickly, with 62% of parents being led to the decision after noticing a change in the way that their kids dressed.

Seventy-eight per cent of people asked also expressed that they’re often alarmed about the wacky things that their kids come out with, and 57% dread what their children are able to see through the often-terrifying world of social media.

But, despite the concerns that our kids could fall victim to the pressure to fit into stereotypes at such a young age, it seems like we’re not active enough in shielding them from the online world.

In fact, less than a third of parents we asked said that they keep tabs on the TV programmes that their kids watch, whereas 57% monitor the video games that our children seem so addicted to.

Parents in Worcester had the beadiest eyes with 80% of all those asked saying that they monitor their kids’ video game activity. The Irish city of Belfast proved to be the least-bothered about what their kids are doing online, with just 39% of parents monitoring the content that their kids play on.

Surprisingly, just 3% of parents said that their children do not use the TV.

Our survey also found that 59% of parents would allow their children to watch a movie that is deemed as suitable for people over the age of 18 before they had actually reached that age; with 18% admitting that they’d let their child watch an 18-rated film before the tender age of 15.

And it’s not just movies that we’ve got our eyes on! In fact, kids these day are dating at much younger ages than their parents were, with the average child experiencing the excitement of a first date at just 14 years old, compared to the average age of 15 a few decades ago.

Unsurprisingly, this links to the fact that our kids are learning about sex more than ever. Nowadays, children are discussing sex two years younger than their parents did, with 10 being the average age to start talking.

Even though our kids may be growing up too soon and believing that they’re ready to experience life as an adult, we’re sure that the words “I wish I was young again!” will be quick to come out of their mouths sooner or later!

Tom Madders, Director of Campaigns and Communications at children’s charity YoungMinds, said: “Social media is part of everyday life for most young people – from organising plans with friends to reading the news or scrolling through Twitter or Instagram.

“Increasing safety within social media platforms is an important step, and one we urge social media sites to act upon.

“Parents can adjust the safety settings on their Internet browsers and devices, but it is impossible to monitor or control everything your child sees online.

“This is why it is so important for parents to talk to their children about what they may be seeing online and encourage them to open up if something is troubling them.”

Mr Madders added: “Any parent who is worried about the wellbeing of their child can get free advice from the YoungMinds Parents’ Helpline on 0808 902 5544.”

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