London: Many parents admit that they refuse to read out fairy tales to their children because they consider classics are too scary for them, according to a new study.

The study, commissioned by television channel Watch to mark the launch of U.S. drama Grimm, revealed one in five have ditched the likes of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm in favour of more modern books, a daily reported.

Almost half of mothers and fathers refuse to read Rumpelstiltskin or Rapunzel to their children because the themes of the tales include kidnapping.

They also reject Little Red Riding Hood because they think the Big Bad Wolf eating the little girl's grandmother is too upsetting, with a third saying the story had left their children in tears.

And Goldilocks and the Three Bears is likely to be left on the bookshelf too, as parents feel it condones stealing.

Even lighter tales have fallen out of fashion, with 52 per cent dismissing Cinderella as 'outdated' because it portrays a young woman doing housework all day.

Many consider Jack and the Beanstalk to be 'too unrealistic', while the use of the term 'dwarfs' in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is deemed unacceptable.

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

Instead, they favour more recent books such as The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Mr Men series.

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