Don’t blame Slender Man–it wasn’t his fault

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mash: modern parenting / psychology / Slender Man

 

The recent senseless stabbing of a 12-year-old girl tore my heart as I read about the facts of the case. I couldn’t imagine hearing that my daughter had be stabbed 19-times by her “friends” and left to die. And the reason behind the stabbing? To impress the urban legend persona “Slender Man”. The girls read about the character on a website, and said the attempted murder was their way of trying to impress him. But don’t blame Slender Man–it wasn’t his fault.

 

I’m not going to go into the psychology of the two girls accused of this heinous crime. There is a great article on CNN that looks at possible causes, including media exposure, brain development, and social interaction. I couldn’t possibly explain the possibilities better.

don't blame Slender Man It wasn't him I was reading some reactions of readers on LiveScience’s post on Facebook. Many of the readers indicated that they thought the girls themselves were directlyto blame. Others blamed the parents. On more, shall we say “conservative” sites and threads related to the subject, people even blamed the ‘end of days’.

 

To me, the actions of these 12-year-old children lie at the feet of their parents. I agree that there was probably some mental issues going one with at least one of the girls that sparked the events. However, there was gasoline too–the “Slender Man” persona.

 

No one questioned their unhealthy interest in Slender Man, a character that had been warped into a kidnapper and murderer of children? No one said “Hey, your friend is a bit odd with all the talk of killing. Is she OK?”

 

I don’t blame Slender Man, or the horror genre itself. There a plenty of people, from a variety of backgrounds, that enjoy the horror genre–and those people do not go around stabbing their friends. However, I don’t think the still developing brain of a preteen should be consumed by it. And these girls apparently spent hours enveloping themselves into the world of “Slender Man”, to the point of wanting to do something about their obsession. And yes, these girls could have jumped over this obsession to something else and still did something horrid to someone someday. (Though Criminologist Jack Levin thinks the some children with personality disorders can grow past a point of committing heinous acts “when their brain has developed more and they no longer have this kind of character disorder”. The quote is from that great CNN article I mentioned earlier.)

 

So where were the parents of these girls? There were at least 2 adults in charge of the daily care of these preteens. No one noticed the site they were surfing? No one questioned their unhealthy interest in Slender Man, a character that had been warped into a kidnapper and murderer of children? No one said “Hey, your friend is a bit odd with all the talk of killing. Is she OK?” No one wondered what they were whispering about. No one had a strong enough hold on their physical movements so that they couldn’t disappeared to stab another little girl 19-times and leave her to crawl for help.

 

Look, parents aren’t perfect. It’s hard to balance all the hats we have to wear these days. We are care givers, employees, significant others, little league coaches, our bff’s confidant, dog walkers, chiefs, maids, tutors, chauffeurs, and party planners. (What did I miss?) Just the thoughts of adding one more responsibility to our plate makes me want to scream. However, monitoring what our children are taking into their minds isn’t optional.

 

I. Is. Necessary.

 

It should go without saying that parents should know who their children’s friends are. They should know what type of kids are influencing their child’s thinking and behavior. And parents should know where their children are physically and what they are doing. (Just in time, Michael Jackson’s new album has a song called “Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” that speaks to the dangers of unsupervised children.)

 

Children have access to a wider variety of thoughts, experiences, people, and media at younger and younger ages. Their brain, which continues to grow until well into their 20s, is molding and shaping their life experiences. Would you let a random stranger walk up to your child and talk to them in private? Would you let your child walk into a library and pull any book off the shelf that they want and read it without being aware of it’s content? If you let your child surf the internet and participate in social media without guidelines, you might as well.

 

And, no, I don’t believe in my child having ‘privacy’. I just don’t. When they are grown, and out of my house (but never off my heart) and I’m not responsible or liable for their actions–then they can have privacy. If I see no reason to dig into who their friends are, their social activities, or media interests, I won’t. But if in my monitoring I notice something alarming, it’s my job as a loving mother to tackle the issue. Maybe if someone had done this with these two girls, a third girl now wouldn’t have to live with the memory of being repeatedly stabbed by two girls she called friends.

 

But technology can be your friend in the tasks of monitoring your children. Make sure you check out the follow up article “Tools You Need To Spy On Your Kids”.

   

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  • Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I actually had not heard of this until that story about the two girls stabbing their friend was on the news last week. It’s crazy how they actually believed he was real.

    • Mrs. Mashed Up

      Me either! And it seems like a lot of kids know this character.

  • http://familylivingonabudget.blogspot.com/ Anna

    I’d never heard of slender man. What an awful thing to happen. I think we are all responsible for our own actions, but it’s definitely the job of parents to lead and guide their children.

    • Mrs. Mashed Up

      I couldn’t agree more!

  • http://www.kungphoo.com Kungphoo

    I never heard of the slender man, but that does not mean that the kids should just follow him and try to impress him.. that was their friend, and they killed her.. i agree with you, where are the parents? I know what my kids do 99% of the time online.

  • http://www.productreviewmom.com Louida

    I’m surprise I haven’t heard of this story! This is beyond sad! Where were the parents when all of this was happening? This could have been avoided.

  • http://www.pookasfamily.com/2014/06/etsy-addiction-styled-shoot.html Tara

    It just breaks my heart to hear about stories like this but it does happen and we need to remember the VICTUM.

    -Tara

  • http://blog.pickurgift.com Yona Williams

    I read about this story, and I think it’s alarming, but I think kids have way too much freedom to do, say, and act upon their impulses. Social media and television plays a huge role in the way kids and teens are developing and viewing the world. It’s so much different than it was when I was their age. What happened to enjoying the SIMPLE pleasures in life?

    • Mrs. Mashed Up

      I totally agree. There are a lot more external influences on children today then when we were young!

  • http://thepositivemom.com Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM

    This makes me so sad. I agree with you about the fact that parents must monitor children, and like you, I don’t believe in my children having “privacy”… it is not a way to “train up” a child. Tragedies are sad, but even more so when they could have been avoided. :(

    • Mrs. Mashed Up

      I agree, while kids have there own personalities, it is the duty to “train up a child” in the direction he should live his life!

  • http://www.MommyAtoZblog.com Meredith@MommyAtoZ

    This is the first I’m hearing about this. I think you make an excellent point that how come no one noticed these kids were having problems or obsessing over something so dark and dangerous? People are responsible for their actions, but parents, family, and friends need to notice when there are signs of trouble and intervene. Interesting post!

  • http://www.mail4rosey.com Rosey

    This is my first time hearing about it. How very tragic, :(

  • http://www.lavendeandlemonade.blogspot.com Lavende

    What a tragic story, thanks for bringing Slender Man to our attention

  • http://fitnessfashionista.com Danielle

    This is the first time I am hearing about this. I have heard of Slender Man from my son. I remember as a kid watching nothing but horror movies. I think that maybe in some people it could be a trigger for some underlying mental illness but I don’t blame the genre.

  • Pingback: Tools You Need To Spy On Your Kids | That's Mashed Up

  • Meredith@MommyAtoZ

    Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop! Check out this week’s hop, going on now! http://mommyatozblog.com/2014/06/22/join-the-manic-mondays-blog-hop-622/

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