Another Slenderman-connected attack. Another girl. More parental reaction.

Another attack is connected to Slenderman, this time in Ohio. This one sounds less connected, more complicated, and like an overreaction to a scapegoat cause. We can’t tell if it is a copycat case or the Mother seeing a post hoc connection.

Hamilton Co. mom: Daughter’s knife attack influenced by Slender Man | Local News – WLWT Home.

A Hamilton County mother says her daughter’s attacking her with a knife could have been a result of the fictional horror character Slender Man.

“I came home one night from work and she was in the kitchen waiting for me and she was wearing a mask, a white mask,” she said.

This story is dated June 6 but there are no further details of when this took place in relation to the Wisconsin incident that occurred on the night of Saturday, May 31. (Slenderman myth connected to attempted murder).

Though this mother said her daughter had mentioned Slenderman and that he was found referenced in her writings, there seems less of a connection. The girl, 13, unnamed, had mental issues and her writing was described as “always dark” – about demons and killing. She is being held in a detention center with charges pending. The mother only had minor injuries.

The mother’s language hints to me that she may have spoken up due to concern about the dark fiction that kids are reading. From the video on the site:

Reporter: AND THIS MOM SAYS IT SHOULD BE A WAKE UP CALL FOR ALL PARENTS.
Mother: We do have to police what they do and what they read.

I find this VERY disturbing. Policing your teens is neither easy nor fair to them. This is an age when they are attempting to figure out who they are and how to break away from parental supervision. As a parent, I can only imagine that snooping in their private stuff and adding more restrictions will only make them more resentful and prone to act out or hide the truth. Therefore, I disagree with the sentiment I see in several places where the parents and social media and content are being held responsible for these acts. Slenderman is turning into another typical moral panic – like heavy metal music, Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Harry Potter, etc. Social issues like these are so very complicated, you can not logically blame one cause. If you do, you are apt to totally misunderstand and probably make things worse.

Another angle is that these are girls. Are girls becoming more violent? Are they more prone to act out their hatred and jealousy? What Do We Know About Girls Who Kill? — Science of Us. Statistics support the following:

It’s extremely rare for young girls to murder.
But girls are becoming more violent.
Girls who kill are more likely to kill someone they know.
Most girls who kill do so as a result of a conflict.
Most girls who kill don’t use guns.
Girl killers are more likely than boy killers to kill other girls.

Fox News naturally puts a sexist, uninformed spin on it: Slender Man stabbing: Fox News says girls are “more likely to have hateful little minds.”

Let’s make this perfectly clear. There is little difference between bogeyman creeps like Slenderman, Freddy Krueger, the Wendigo, La Llorona or the dozens of other characters around the world that serve the same purpose – to scare you silly.

Slenderman: Nightmarish info-demon or misunderstood cultural icon? – Salon.com.

Here are Helen Popkin’s comments on this:

Beyond Slender Man: More Internet Things You Know Nothing About – NBC News.com.

If your kid is in anyway creative, precocious or attracted to the strange and unusual, eventually he or she is going to discover deviantArt, an online community showcasing user-made artwork of all forms. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be a very good thing. With more than 25 million members and 246 million submissions, this international community can provide inspiration and support to growing imaginations. People get awards for stuff they’ve posted on deviantArt, and some get careers as well. But parental discretion is advised.

It’s just that teens find ways to avoid blocks parents may put in their way. I still say that all tragedies can not be avoided but talking to your kids, trusting them and nurturing their trust in you, paying attention to emotional and behavioral problems is the best way to head off trouble that leads to violent behavior.

We talked about this topic today on SFR. Check out the podcast, I’m in the second half.

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  5 comments for “Another Slenderman-connected attack. Another girl. More parental reaction.

  1. spookyparadigm
    June 8, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Good call on quoting the bit about deviantart. There was a brief glimpse of what looked like Homestuck fan art (I think, I don’t really know that stuff) in the news video.

  2. Rich
    June 9, 2014 at 6:19 AM

    The tedious inevitability of this reaction is depressing, and as you say we’ve been through it before – backwards lyrics, rap music, video games. They all ’cause’ violence.

    The Mail on Sunday ran a front page in the aftermath of Elliot Rodgers’ killings which labelled him “the Hunger Games Assassin” and leaned heavily on his father’s being a “violent fantasy filmmaker.” Should you want to abrade your brain on the Mail’s lumpen editorialising, here’s a (non-Mail) link: https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/470309624034652160/photo/1

    The implications are clearly that violent fictional popular culture is responsible – you know, somewhere down the line, somehow, because… well, because in the Mail’s case it knows its readers are frightened of young people and The World Today and wish Doris Day was still making wholesome heterosexual romance films with that nice Rock Hudson.

    As with all of these things, though, any idea of causation is somewhat modified when you consider the sheer volume of people who choose to go and be entertained by – sorry, I mean ‘are exposed to’ – such things. In the specific case of the Hunger Games, according to the figures here http://lumiere.obs.coe.int/web/film_info/?id=40126, nearly 64 million people in the US and Europe have seen the first film.

    Sixty-four million people. It would be surprising if one of sixty-four million European and Americans *didn’t* have it in them to do something violent and aberrant.

  3. Angela
    June 9, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    It scares me so much when young people want to harm others. I see it so often in the area I live (for different reasons) but it all boils down to the same thing–people end up dead or seriously hurt at the hands of someone who isn’t even old enough to vote yet. As parents, yes, we have to be aware of what’s going on with our kids, not by policing them but by taking the time to really know them. I do think we need to educate ourselves on the personalities that cannot distinguish fantasy from reality and recognize warning signs of that. Most of all, I think personal accountability needs to be enforced and reinforced. We can’t teach our kids personal accountability if the media or the internet become scapegoats.

  4. G
    June 9, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Heh. Yeah. I had a mother who thought anything besides classical literature or educational non-fiction was creepy and wrong; she thought anything with a touch of nudity (including school-system-accepted works of classical arts masters) was porn.

    She also thought that the way to make sure her children grew up right was to constantly “review” their reading materials, written materials, viewing materials, behavior–and she would have policed our thoughts if possible. This policing involved, among other things, sneaking into our bedrooms and thoroughly searching, and having a wailing confrontation if anything remotely “dirty” [her opinion] was found. These were usually totally innocuous items, items I was shocked to discover that she had some problem with, and sometimes even school-issued material[*]. Geez, I can just imagine what it would have been like if nanny-cams had been available.

    I assure you, policing your child’s viewing material with a clenched fist does not keep them from seeing such materials, and does not help with their emotional development. It does not make them better people. I already _was_ a better people; I was (and am) the biggest goody two-shoes out there. I did not need this sort of treatment to keep me from becoming a stabby murderer. There was nothing that could have made me into a stabby murderer: not anything I read, not anything I saw, not anything I thought.

    Although if anything could have made me lose self-control and become violent, my mother’s treatment of me might have done it: the constant suspicion and accusation; the continual treatment as if I were already guilty and convicted; her certainty that without her close throttling supervision, I would somehow go from being an over-the-top good kid to something filthy and violent.

    Every single one of my mother’s numerous children has ended up with severe mental issues.

    My mother’s paranoia about her children and constant digging for … I don’t even know what … was so traumatic, seriously, that one of her hand-picked therapists [I saw lots, all of them baffled-ly trying to fix something my mother was sure was there] proposed that we write up a contract in which she would only inspect my possessions or enter my room a limited number of times a month, and then only after giving me notice and having me present.

    [Not that it helped; the next time I caught her digging through my dresser I pulled out the contract and she claimed, “That’s not what I meant.” *There*was*no*room*for*interpretation*. My mother was good practice for attempting to understand people who deny science and fact just because it doesn’t agree with what’s in their heads.]

    She was my mother. As a child, I didn’t know better. She said that her relentless monitoring and policing was to keep me a god person. I believed her that, no matter how good I was already, I *must* be a terrible person underneath. I became suicidal, as did some of my other siblings. Several turned to drugs. None of us turned to violence, but looking back, this is pretty astonishing.

    I think “close policing” of a child is probably a recipe for disaster of some kind: violence towards one’s self or others.

    [*] Remember William Moore, who was _arrested_ in 2005 for a creative writing story about zombies? His teacher had encouraged the project. His guardians, his *grandparents*, reported him to police when they found the project.

  5. June 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM

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