Children are increasingly being allowed to watch films inappropriate for their age and play computer games aimed at older teenagers, according to a study.

In a poll of 1,800 people, 40% of mums and dads admit to allowing their children to watch films rated unsuitable for their child's age. A quarter of parents also revealed they allow their kids to play computer games classified above their age group.

The research, by Parentport, was part of a larger study investigating the increasing exposure of children to inappropriate media. It warned that peer pressure is influencing parents to allow children access to media - including films, TV and the internet - that isn't suitable for them. It also voiced concerns that many children will regret “over-sharing” on the internet as they don't realise information they release about themselves now will remain online forever.

“We need to make sure parents are aware of the risks,” said a spokesman for Ofcom, the UK’s media and technology regulator.

Find out more about film classification rules and how to protect your children online.