The Slender Man is a fictional character who originated from a viral internet meme and encourages students to do dangerous things.
What is the Slender Man?
- The Slender Man is a fictional character who originated from a viral internet meme and has made an impact on pop culture
- Creepypasta.wikia.com is a website that is home to user-generated horror legends or images that have been copy and pasted around the internet
- The character started as a challenge on a web forum. Users were challenged to photoshop everyday photos to appear paranormal
- Within 2 years, the character had become so popular that the creator couldn’t believe how widespread it had become
- The character is portrayed as a tall, thin, and faceless man in a black suit
- He goes around traumatizing people, targeting children
- There is a symbol associated with the character that is heavily used in his depictions
- Since the Slender Man isn’t tied to a specific narrative, he can be seen depicted in several video games (like Minecraft and the Slender Man app on iOS) and movies
- He can look different depending on the storyteller but he is usually seen in a forest and has long tentacle arms
- In most stories, the Slender Man usually has the ability to teleport and children who are targeted by him are driven insane or act on his behalf
- The motive of the Slender Man is usually mysterious and vague. He can either protect certain children like a guardian angel or attack them
The Slender Man in the news
Two girls allegedly stabbed their classmate 19 times in what investigators described as a sacrifice intended to please Slenderman, which they had discovered on a horror story website. –CBS News
[The teen who stabbed a classmate] told police she first encountered Slender Man as a secondary character in a Minecraft video. –NY Mag
For whatever reason, Slender Man does seem to have resonated particularly among teenagers; perhaps that’s the demographic most susceptible to scary stories, or perhaps they’re the people frequenting sites like Creepypasta most often. –Washington Post
Why should parents care about Slender Man?
- Although he is fictitious, the Slender Man can be very influential
- In 2014, two tween girls stabbed a classmate and claimed it was in an attempt to act on behalf of the Slender Man after reading about him online. The girls were tried and convicted as adults
- In 2014, a mother reported that her teenage daughter attacked her with a knife and the Slender Man motivated the attack
- A few years ago, police reported that a teen had lit their family’s house on fire while their family was inside in connection with the Slender Man
- Slender Man is so popular that it has become a common Halloween costume
- According to the HBO documentary “Beware the Slenderman”, most American kids know about the Slender Man
- There is a horror movie coming out in 2018 about the Slender Man which will increase his popularity
What can parents do about Slender Man?
- Talk to your children about the Slender Man and ask them whether or not they know about him. Ensure that your children know that he is not real
- Teach your students about urban legends and how to decipher what is fake from what is real
- If your student talks about the Slender Man, consider discussing the issue with your school. Chances are if your student is aware of the character, other students are too and having a strategy in place can prevent an incident from occurring
- Ensure that your children know that they can always come to you or a trusted adult if they have questions or want to talk
- Learn about viral trends so that you can stay one step ahead of your teen