For the second time in two weeks, local teens are under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that was reportedly shared on social media.
In the latest case, Clyde Hill Police are investigating the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl at a house party. Two Bellevue High School students are being investigated for rape. Two others could face charges for having pictures of the crime, which investigators say were shared on SnapChat.
This comes just one week after police launched an investigation into two members of the University of Washington's men's crew team. Court documents say the teens in that case sexually assaulted an intoxicated female student. They're also accused of shooting video of the incident, without the victim's consent.
In both cases, the use of social media raises a lot of issues for parents: How do you talk to your kids about the importance of responsible social media use?
"We need to talk about it. People don't like to talk about these things with kids, but we have to," said Claire Beach.
Beach is a retired teacher from Edmonds and a longtime media literacy educator.
She works with Action For Media Education, which is a non-profit organization based in Seattle. The organization's goal is to educate and equip children, youth, and adults with the skills needed to make sense of the digital world.
"It breaks my heart because kids, we have not taught them the ethical part of this. You know, there's a piece of plastic they use, a cell phone, and it's not a face, there's not a person there," said Beach. "What we have to do is give them some guidelines, because we didn't give them any rules or any ways to protect themselves."
Beach says the recent cases are proof that those guidelines are more important now than ever.
"I think it's having those conversations and having them understand the empathy part of it," she said. "Just having them think about what it would be like to have it happen to them. And to understand the impact, that what they did wasn't just a fun thing with a cell phone. It could land them in jail - the people that sent it. And the young women, God only hopes they get the support they need after this."
Beach says Action For Media Education's website is a good resource for parents looking for ways to start that conversation with their kids.
"Social media has driven this issue to a crisis," said Beach. "What I've seen with young people is that they don't understand the power of it."