Bothell teen sexting probe prompts discussion


Kids and cell phones can be a tricky area to navigate. How old should they be in order to have one? Do you limit how they are allowed to use it? Do you physically look at it regularly to see what’s on it? How about just talking about good, safe cell phone (and social media) use?

Parents in the Northshore School District are likely having these conversations with their kids after news surfaced that Bothell police and the district are investigating “sexting” by junior high students. Apparently, several boys at two schools encouraged some girls to send nude photos of themselves to the boys’ cell phones, police told The Herald of Everett. And it’s alleged that in some instances, girls were pressured, or threatened that the images would be shared if they didn’t send more, the district said.

“Living in the digital age has its benefits and challenges,” wrote Assistant Superintendent Heather Miller in a letter to families posted on the district’s website. “As students become more connected through technology, they have instant access to friends, but can become more vulnerable to such things as online bullying or sexting.”

The district encouraged parents to talk with their children about social media and online safety, and offers links to several resources.

Bothell police Sgt. Ken Seuberlich told The Herald that he hopes people will come forward with information. “It’s always better to come forward and say, ‘This is what I know,’ than to have the police come to you and say, ‘This is what I know,’” he said.

If your child has a cell phone or uses social media, how do you talk with them about staying safe? Let us know in the comments.

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