London, Feb 13

Generations of children have been captivated by fairy tales like "Rapunzel", "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and "Cinderella" but now parents feel they are too scary for children.

A quarter of 2,000 parents polled said they would not consider reading a fairytale to their child until they had reached the age of five, as they ask too many awkward questions.

Tv channel Watch commissioned the study to mark the launch of US drama "Grimm".

"As adults, we can see the innocence in fairy tales, but a five-year-old with an over-active imagination could take things too literally," said Steve Hornsey from the channel.

Almost half of parents refuse to read "Rumpelstiltskin" or "Rapunzel" to their children because the themes include kidnapping.

They also rejected "Little Red Riding Hood" because they think the Big Bad Wolf eating the little girl's grandmother was "too upsetting". Some said the story left their children in tears.

While "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" has a theme of stealing, 52 percent dismissed "Cinderella" as outdated because it portrayed a young woman doing housework all day.

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