Two girls in Wisconsin have been arrested for stabbing a classmate, apparently with the intention of becoming minions of the Slenderman. They were caught walking near a local highway, en route to Wisconsin’s Nicolet National Forest, where they believe the fictitious character lives.
The victim, who was stabbed 19 times, is making a recovery.
All the girls involved are around 12 years old.
That’s all terrible, but what actually irks me more is that a spokesman for the Slenderman creator, and administrator for the website where most fiction revolving around the character is posted, has said "We are not teaching children to believe in a fictional monster, nor are we teaching them to be violent."
I think it’s pretty bad that a person who comes up with a concept has to be afraid of the reaction to how other people use it. Especially children. They’re random, dangerous little buggers.
Think back to your own childhood. What was the stupidest thing you did, and why?
Me? At the age of about 8 or 9, I loved the The Goonies. Nothing wrong with that, you might think….except it’s a film about deadly traps, which I found fascinating and tried to emulate. I remember one occasion where I tried to put a very heavy rock in a tree, with the intention of having a tripwire set off its fall. Thankfully, I never managed it. If I had, I could have killed someone!
The 80s were a slightly more logical period in time, though. If I had crushed someone’s skull, I don’t think Steven Spielberg would have felt the need to cover his arse with a statement, nor do I think the media would have blamed him, unlike today, when everything is the fault of Grand Theft Auto.
Kids are sponges. You’ve no idea what information they’re going to absorb or how they’ll react to it when they do. This is why they’re more dangerous in the digital age than ever before; there is so much information available. The only way they survive to puberty unscathed is through the strange and archaic practice known as “parenting” – that being where the parents monitor stimuli upon their offspring, as opposed to just sitting them in front of a media portal and letting them soak up whatever content they stumble across.
The TV is not a good babysitter and the internet is an open sewer. You don’t want your kids being messed up? Don’t give them unrestricted access to either. Caught them accessing content they’re too young to handle? Sorry, you’re gonna have to do damage control, which involves talking to them (the horror) and explaining why something is wrong/bad/unhealthy/dangerous.
It obviously doesn’t guarantee that a child won’t do something stupid, inspiration can come from anywhere, but engaging with them does lessen the likelihood of them, y’know, trying to kill someone.