Special Report: Underaged and Overexposed

(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WTVM)
(Source: Grand Theft Auto)
(Source: Grand Theft Auto)

(WTVM) - It's on your phone, your television, in your music, in your children's video games- it's everywhere: sex.

It's selling and its filling the world around us, along with your child's eyes.

"Pornography is the new drug," explains Relationship and Family Educator Expert at the Pastoral Institute, Monica Cobis.

"The sexual content; it impacts the brain chemistry and it lights up the pleasure centers of the brain you would get from doing drugs. Pornography is the same thing. But the kids don't know that," said Cobis

Cobis said for many children, it's the latest addition.

"Children are being exposed at an earlier age and we are seeing that kids are becoming addicted by age 11," said Cobis who works with families and children on a daily basis on topics including addiction.

Cobis said parents play a huge role in any addiction, especially when children are addicted to pornography.

"Parents, be aware," said Cobis. "If you gave your child a device then its is your responsibility to keep tabs on that. Period."

Whether it's a device such as a smart phone, tablet or computer, Cobis said it's these kinds of devices that unlock and expose some of the most graphic content. All free to land right in the hands of your child and fill their eyes with X-rated materials.

Cobis said most of the time the addiction starts by accident.

"About 27 percent of kids accidentally find these sites," said Cobis. "Its not that they are looking. They might accidentally find a site, and then what are they going to do? They are kids. They are curious. They are going to watch."

As an educator at the Pastoral Institute, Cobis said it's a recurring theme, happening way too often than it should.

"We have one girl who got a device at the age of eight and accidentally found a porn site," Cobis explained. "Then her mom found her a few weeks later under the covers watching this pornography. Her mom was shocked that was going on, but the mom didn't put any blocks on the phone."

Smart devices and phones? Searching the internet or stumbling upon pornographic sites is only one part of the puzzle.

Cobis said the issues, go even deeper and darker than that, as they find a home to your television screens and take over game consoles, such as Xbox or Playstations.

"On Grand Theft Auto when we interviewed sixth graders, we asked them how many played this game and 5 out of 6 did," said Cobis. "These 11-year-olds are watching a mature game with graphic material."

Cobis said parents fail to recognize what the rating truly means for games like Grand Theft Auto, a game rated "mature" according to the entertainment software rating board.

The ESRB states on their website mature games have "Content generally suitable for ages 17 and up and may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language."

"In this particular game, players can actually have first person sex, as if they are having sex with an individual, and these kids have access to that," said Cobis referring to a scene in the game where players can visit a virtual strip club and engage in various behaviors once inside.

But the sexual content, the explicit images, the x-rated undertones; it doesn't stop there. Cobis said they can even fill your children's ears, if you're not careful.

"Think about the songs nowadays that you just hear on popular radio," said Cobis. "How much have to deal with some sort of sexual content?"

Cobis said parents should listen to their children's music first, before allowing them to listen to it because of the sexual implications many songs have in society. Cobis also encourages parents to watch the music videos which accompany songs in order to get a better visualization of which words in the song may have sexual undertones.

Social media plays a huge role in sexual content exposure said Cobis.

"If you see what's going on in social media," said Cobis.  "It would make sense the patterns we're seeing in real life."

Cobis agreed its sites similar to World Star Hip Hop, a hub for videos professionally made and viewer submitted. The theme of the videos of World Star's website fall under unlisted categories such as sex, violence, alcohol, drugs and crime. With close to 2 million followers on Twitter, a heavy amount of their followers include users under the age of 18.

Although the World StarHipHop.com website has a user policy listed on a separate tab at the bottom of their home screen stating their content is "intended for users who are over the age of 13 and some of the materials on the site are only intended for those over the age of 18, World Star's Twitter handle @WorldStar, lists no type of warning in their informational biography.

"People think, it's just a way of life," said Cobis. "But it's a dangerous way of life."

Cobis said children and their exposure to sexual content is an issue families need to focus on.

"If we leave our kids out there they will become like that," said Cobis.

Cobis believes in order for the issue to be resolved, parents should set restrictions, limitations and software on their kid's smart devices which catch and monitor the computer usage; specifically sexual content.

"So we need other people to come in and say, 'Let's put some restrictions on the phones or let's put some rules on at school, or whatever the case may be."

Until a community wide effort is made, Cobis fears the sexual exposure and addictions will continue.

"It has to be a community wide effort, at least here in Columbus," said Cobis.

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