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State's attorney: Batavia 'sexting' case a 'teachable moment'

Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 4:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:52 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – In response to the recent "sexting" incident in Batavia, Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon is encouraging parents to talk to their kids about responsible use of social media.

"This is really a teaching opportunity," he said Tuesday during his monthly meeting with the media.

McMahon raised the issue the day after the Batavia Police Department announced that charges would not be filed against the Rotolo Middle School students involved in the incident.

Police have said students took inappropriate nude images of themselves and shared them with other students through cellphone text messages.

Although two boys have been charged with possession of child pornography in a sexting case in Barrington, McMahon said criminal charges didn't need to be filed in the Batavia case to accomplish the goal of educating students about the inherent dangers of sharing such content.

Provocative images could attract attention from people with ill intent, McMahon said. For example, he said, children who post such pictures are more likely to be targeted by those looking to exploit them for commercial gain.

McMahon advises parents to talk with their children about responsible use of social media, preferably when the kids are first given access to a cellphone or social media.

Parents should address the potential short-term and long-term effects that come with sharing certain personal information, as well as the fact that not everyone has good intentions, McMahon said.

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