Updated 04/11/14 – 11:22 a.m.
HOMER GLEN, Ill. (CBS) — Counselors were visiting a middle school in southwest suburban Homer Glen on Friday to talk to children about the dangers of sexting, as police investigated an incident involving sexually explicit images shared by 6th graders.
CBS 2’s Chelsea Irving reports officials at Hadley Middle School and Will County Sheriff’s police were investigating after receiving reports that some 6th graders were sending each other inappropriate photos on their phones.
“Parents really need to pay more attention to these kids. It’s terrible,” said Debbie Unger, whose daughter attends Hadley.
Authorities seized cell phones from several students this week after a 6th grade girl received a sexually explicit photo in a text message. That image apparently was shared among a small group of classmates at the school.
The school was bringing in social workers and counselors on Friday to talk to 6th grade students about the dangers and ramifications of sexting and other inappropriate use of technology and social media, including bullying.
“Today, our hope is to use time with our sixth-grade kids, to inform them, working with our counselors and our social workers, to talk about the risk and the dangers of inappropriate use of media,” Supt. J. Michel Morrow tells CBS 2.
This is the second sexting incident at a school this week. At Barrington Middle School, some students were suspended after showing a sexting message to other students.
Dr. Nancy Zarse is a psychologist specializing in school violence and risk assessment. Zarse says social media peer pressure is what leads many of these kids to send sexting messages. They just want to fit in.
“Some of these things lead to criminal charges and they lead to sex offender labels that can prohibit a multitude of jobs,” she says.
Will County Sheriff’s police was investigating, but said it appears to be an isolated incident among a handful of students, and criminal charges were unlikely.
There has been no word about possible disciplinary action for the students involved.