When was the first time you felt grown up? Chances were, like me, it was some time in your teens. However, nowadays, a growing number of preteens are starting to worry about weight, appearance and generally being more grown up than their years.

I, like many teens take pride in, and occasionally worry over my appearance. But when I was seven, I was worried about dolls and sparkly hair clips, not dieting or foundation. In a recent study by Mintel, it was discovered that 63% of seven to ten year olds used lipstick, 80% wore nail varnish, and 44% had experimented with eyeshadow or eyeliner. This worryingly high figure illustrates that young girls involvement with make up now far surpasses playing with their mothers make up kits.

But when asking where they get this idea that they have to look older than they are, and I find myself looking to stars such as the Olsen Twins who although famed for their childhood successes as they have grown, have now become known for their social lives, and in particular drinking and making a show of themselves. Unfortunately, young girls see this and think that, seeing as stars such as the Olsen twins have fame and money, it is acceptable, and even desirable to be obsessed with physical appearance.

Last year I watched a programme which highlighted the fact that the average age of young people admitted to Anorexia clinics is fast falling from 16 last year. Children six and even younger are being admitted by worried parents to help get their weight back up, and their relationship with food healthier.

This is another result of the images they come across in everyday life that show successful, thin women and makes them think that this is a surefire way to gain happiness and what they want from life.

I, like people throughout the country, am worried that children just cannot be children anymore due to constant bombardment from the media, which is causing them to grow up more quickly than is healthy.

We need to remind children to relish their innocence, to revel in the fact that there is very little pressure on them and to enjoy childhood while it lasts. We need to put an end, before it’s too late, to the dwindling childhoods of Britain.