One week after a student sexting incident and resulting police investigation put Barrington Middle School Station Campus in the Chicago media spotlight, a group of concerned residents backed by several local organizations is taking action in response. They’ve organized two presentations about the issue, featuring Dr. Nausheen Din, a Barrington physician specializing in adult, child and adolescent psychiatry.
I share concerns I’ve heard from many friends this past week about how we can better educate our kids about sexting’s social and legal consequences, especially as mobile devices and social sharing apps become more widely used at younger ages. So, for me, tonight’s presentation, created for adults, will be particularly helpful. The second presentation is geared toward students and will take place tomorrow night. All are invited to attend but an RSVP is highly recommended due to space limitations.
CALL TO ACTION: Let’s Talk About Sexting
Presented by Nausheen Din, MD, a physician specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is a local Barrington resident and has her practice here as well.
Presentation Created for Adults
When: Wednesday, April 16, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Where: The Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills
Sponsor: The Sanfilippo Family Foundation
Presentation Created for Students
When: Thursday, April 17, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Where: The Lake Barrington Field House
Sponsors: The Lake Barrington Field House and Barrington Children’s Charities
Additional Sponsors: National Alliance of Mental Illness, the Cressey Family and Rosati’s Pizza
To RSVP, please call 847 842 7200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for address, directions and any additional questions.
The organizers, including Rusty Hernandez of the Sanfilippo Foundation, say their goal is to help us consider the issue and weigh solutions that inform, empower and protect our kids. Rusty says he sees these types of problems escalating and occurring at an even younger age if we don’t do more in response.
“Kids are losing their inhibitions when they can hide behind social media because there is no face-to-face. It’s a real problem and, as time goes by, it seems that those involved are getting younger and younger. This kind of stuff used to only happen in high school. Now it’s in middle school and my fear is that it’s going to trickle down to elementary school. Students of all ages need to learn the consequences of inappropriate social media.”
Here’s a look at more of the information Rusty shared about this week’s presentations…
Is this problem affecting our community?
CUSD 220 officials recently sent an email to parents reporting that police and school officials were investigating an incident of sexting at a Barrington middle school. Inappropriate images of a student were allegedly shared among a small circle of other students through text messages. The school was first made aware of the issue shortly after students returned from spring break. Upon finding that the images had been redistributed to a wide circle of students, the school involved local law enforcement. Since the incident, students’ responses have ranged widely. While some have expressed shock about the alleged consequences, few verbalized disbelief. Many older students shared stories of their own experiences, expressing regret, as well as a strong desire to help increase awareness amongst parents and teens. Almost every one of them seemed to be informed of the incident, regardless of the school or grade they attended.
The events will have separate sessions for adults and students of all ages. This will allow audience participation to be more candid, and thereby helpful. All minors will require the permission of a parent or guardian to attend.
Facts about teen sexting
Substance abuse and sexual violence are becoming increasingly prominent in middle school students across the country. Earlier this week, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois found that almost one in five students in middle school have experienced physical sexual violence while atschool. What else do we know?
• 18-19% students report being the target of sexual rumors, sexual commentary and homophobic namecalling.
• 30% of teens in the US are sexting, not simply texting.
• Almost 25% of troubled seventh-graders send sexually suggestive texts or photos.
• Sexting is much more common than adults realize.
Why should we talk about this?
Sexting can have serious social, legal, academic, and psychological consequences for students. Direct and indirect involvement can both be crippling, and serve to potentially derail vulnerable youth. As a community, we must support each other as we work through our shock, and move toward a safer future for our youth. The goal is to inspire a conversation about what it is that students need to better prepare them for adulthood. By participating in this event, you may walk away a little more informed, and thus be in a better position to step up to the next level of intervention either for your own family member, or just as valuable, the life of someone else’s child. Please make the time and attend.
What will you learn?
A powerpoint presentation will be followed with an opportunity to ask questions, and gain direction. Topics covered include the following and more.
• What parents can do about sexting
• Why teens are sexting images of themselves
• Why teens are sexting or requesting images of others
• Psychological, social, legal, and academic consequences of sexting
• What to do after the fact
• Red flags
About the presenter
Nausheen Din, MD is a physician specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is committed to assessing and treating youth with complex psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Dr. Din has been in private practice for close to fifteen years, and completed her adult psychiatry residency training at the Loyola University Medical Center, as well as a fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Illinois, Chicago, where she served as chief resident. She works closely with the community and local school districts, and is a resident of Barrington. This allows her an invaluable glimpse into the life of our youth from the perspective of a clinician as well as a parent. She has been an invited speaker for several school districts, NAMI, and other audiences, and her presentations have consistently been well received.