If ever there was any doubt about whether parents need to keep an eye on their kid’s online activities, we were all served a gruesome reminder for the same a couple of days back. If you are not aware about the grisly stabbing incident that took place in Wisconsin this week, here is a brief rundown for you. We also explain why and how parents need to keep a check on their children’s online activities.
What happened in Wisconsin?
In a country that has become immune to mass gun killings, people were thrown into shock when news emerged that a 12-year old girl had been stabbed an unbelievable 19 times by two of her friends. The two girls lured the victim into the woods on a Saturday afternoon after a slumber party the previous night, and then stabbed her brutally with a 15 cm knife.
Thankfully, the victim survived the ordeal and crawled out of the woods and was found by a cyclist. She is currently being treated in a hospital and appears to be in a stable condition. The two attackers however, have been apprehended and face a trial.
What caused the stabbing?
Now this leads us to ask the question what led to the stabbing in the first place. The answer to this may surprise you. The two attackers claim that they did this in order to appease the legendary ‘Slender Man’ or ‘Slenderman’. For those who are unaware, Slender Man is a fictional Internet character and stories about him regularly do the rounds on Internet horror sites.
The two attackers regularly frequented such sites and believed that they needed to kill someone in order to gain Slender Man’s favor. They also believed that if they carried out this gruesome act, they would be spared from the Slender Man’s vicious attacks and he would invite them to stay with him in his mansion.
Who or what is Slender Man?
Slender Man is a mysterious and fictional character that was created in 2009 in a paranormal photograph Photoshop contest. His demeanor and appearance was such that he fast became an Internet sensation. Today there are several stories about him that have become urban legends. There have been mentions of him in popular mainstream culture as well. However, and this is very important, Slender Man is NOT REAL.
Descriptions about him vary slightly but always carry the same monotones. He is very tall and skinny, hence the nickname ‘Slender’, and has very long arms. In some cases he even has tentacles sticking out of his back and he always wears a black suit. His primary intention is kidnapping children and he ruthlessly stalks someone who becomes obsessed and paranoid about his existence. However, the most striking thing about Slender Man is his face which is completely white and has no features at all. For someone who believes in such tales, and especially for young kids, Slender Man can be a frightening entity.
What parents should do?
As parents, it is highly important to keep an eye on what sites kids are visiting online. This should not just be restricted to PCs though, as a lot of young children today also have constant Internet access through their smartphones and other devices. However, it is also important to remember that not every child who reads such stories has such drastic reactions. This is a rare case but steps can be taken to prevent this.
It is important to regulate Internet activities but it is far more important to regularly speak to your kids about what they are going through from time to time. This helps avoid several complicated issues.
Quick Heal also offers Parental Control features that can help parents regulate their child’s online activities and duration. While this cannot completely solve this conundrum of child Internet safety, it does help to a large extent.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the 12-year old victim and we hope she recovers soon and can forget this gruesome and traumatic ordeal.