Parents are more concerned about their children fitting in than keeping them safe.
That's according to Newstalk Breakfast host Ciara Kelly, who was responding to new data showing almost one-third of pre-teen boys are playing adult games and exposed to potentially harmful content online.
The new report from CyberSafeKids has found over one-quarter of children surveyed had been bothered by content they’d encountered online.
While 95% of eight to 12-year-olds own their own smart device, and 87% have their own social media/instant messaging account.
Ciara said she believes this is far too young.
"We know that this is harmful, we know that there's damage being done, we know that they're too young for this.
"What jumped out at me wasn't just the bullying, wasn't just the harmful content: it was the fact that all of them have phones.
"As parents, we are prioritising them fitting in - and not being looked at as 'not having what the other kids have' - ahead of their safety, ahead of their emotional well-being.
"And what does it say about us as parents?
"We want to protect them in all kinds of ways, we won't let them walk to the shops anymore for fear of the mythical man in a white van.
"But we're putting something in their hands because we don't want them to be the only kid in the class who doesn't have it - and we know it's dangerous".
She added: "We do have a choice what age we give them to them at.
"And we're choosing to do it - by this survey - around the age of their communion".
View this post on Instagram
CyberSafeKids surveyed almost 4,500 eight to 12-year-olds between September 2021 and June 2022.