In the wake of two 12-year-olds being accused of stabbing their friend to please Slender Man, parents may be wondering who is this Slender Man and do my kids know who he is as well? (Here is the news story about the girls.)
Slender Man, or The Slender Man, first showed up on the website Something Awful in 2009 during a Photoshop contest. The character is often depicted as a slim, faceless man in a suit and tie and sometimes with tentacles. (Via CNN)
The creature came from the mind of Eric Knudsen, who was known on Something Awful as “Victor Surge.” Knudsen didn’t think his creation would take off.
Knudsen said, “Some people had joked in the thread, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if these ended up on paranormal websites?’ … I don’t think anyone expected that to happen.” (Via On The Media)
But it did, and soon enough Slender Man was showing up all over the web, from sketches to homemade films….
An assistant professor of mass media arts at the University of Georgia told The Washington Post it goes back to how humans interact with storytelling traditions: “Horror stories take on a specific significance and importance because they function metaphorically.” The paper adds Slender Man is “an infinitely morphable stand-in for things we can neither understand nor control, universal fears that can drive people to great lengths — even, it would appear, very scary, cold-blooded lengths.”
That’s one of maybe countless explanations that’ll be presented as to why Knudsen’s Internet creation reportedly led these girls to attempt murder. Meanwhile, an administrator on Creepypasta posted a message to the homepage.
It reads, “This incident shows what happens when the line of fiction and reality ceases to exist. … Hopefully, the gruesome crime that happened in Wisconsin will not repeat itself again, and our hearts go out to the families affected by this crime.”
I asked all of my kids, ages 13 to 7, if they know who Slender Man is. The two oldest did. They both knew a similar background story. A guy in the woods in a white body suit who takes children. My oldest said lots of You Tubers play the game and record it or talk about it and it shows up a suggestion to watch when she is watching other videos. She says she never watched it. My son said he and his father played the free game one time and it was creepy so they never played it again.
Do you know who Slender Man is? Do your kids? Are they playing the game or watching videos? How much influence to games, videos have on actions? (This is a constant fight in our home. I’m not letting them have shooter games and always check ratings and reviews.)