Parents believe childhood ends at the tender age of 12, a recent survey revealed.
More than 70 percent of parents in a Netmums.com survey said kids are losing their child-like innocence way too quickly and believe modern-day life adds immense pressure on children to grow up too quickly.
The UK parenting website polled 1032 parents of tweens (the in-between years before children mature into teenagers) on what age they thought kids stop being kids and found that the vast majority felt that their child were no longer childlike by their twelfth birthday.
Nearly all of the parents (90 percent) said they think children today mature much faster than older generations and that immense pressure is being placed on both boys and girls.
The greatest pressure being placed on boys today was to act macho before they were physically or mentally ready as well as the expectation that boys should to excel in all areas from relationships to sports to academics. Another pressure parents said was being placed on boys was the misconception that a girl’s appearance is the most important thing about her.
Parents of girls entering their tween years (believed to be between 8 - 12 years of age) believed that the pressure to always look good and to be thin was the greatest strain on girls.
Other pressures parents that parents cited for tween girls was being forced to have boyfriends and engage in sex, as well as how popular they were at school and on social networks like Facebook.
Despite their efforts to protect their kids, a third of the parents surveyed said they struggled with trying to keep their offspring from growing up to fast.
Nearly three-quarters said peer pressure was the main reason modern children were growing up too quickly while three in 10 believed the internet is to blame.
More than half placed the blame on celebrity culture and the media's fascination with overtly sexual and body conscious stars while pre-teen magazines with content of a sexual nature (more suited to older teenagers) was a contributing factor for two in five of the parents polled. More than half of parents blamed clothing chain stores and their supply of tween "clothes that can be too sexual, such as overtly short skirts or crop tops".
Parents also felt that modern children were not playing outside enough and said that the activities they favoured – and how long they spent on them – added to them maturing quicker.
Most parents (83 percent) claimed that they were still child-like at 12 and that their favourite activity was playing outdoors with friends while for modern 12-year-olds today playing alone on an iPad or tablet was their favourite activity.
"There needs to be a radical rethink in society to revalue childhood and protect it as a precious time - not time to put pressure on children to grow up far too fast," Netmums.com co-founder Siobhan Freegard said.