Friday, June 6, 2014
Boogie Men and Young Imaginations
Last year I wrote a post about my oldest son overcoming his fear of Slender Man. Today I was surprised to see several urgent emails in my mailbox from NBC Nightly News and the Today Show wanting to see if I would be willing to share my son’s experience about Slender Man on camera.
This comes after the arrest of two 12-year-old girls who allegedly stabbed their friend 19 times. Acccording to NBC news, the girls blamed their violent act on Slender Man.
I quickly declined the interviews, but asked my son about his feelings of Slender Man today.
First I should note, never did my son think Slender Man was real, instead, it was something that creeped him out until he bravely faced his fears in the woods one evening. For us, Slender Man was an opportunity for our son to face his fears head on and experience the peace that followed.
Today my son no longer fears Slender Man. He was actually surprised when he heard the news story saying,“Why would those girls want to kill someone for Slender Man? Slender Man is a character in a game that you run from—that doesn’t make sense!”
Gone is Slender Man from my boys’ imaginations, but we’ve faced other online mythical creatures since then. Such as “Jeff the Killer” a mythical creature who tells you to “go to sleep”, then once you do, the creature kills you. For about a month, this made sleeping a challenge for my youngest who then feared falling to sleep.
I’m not going to blame the internet for these experiences, though they’re scary and unfortunate, they’re nothing new to our society. When I was a kid, I was terrified of dolls that could kill you or poltergeists that came out of tv sets. As far as I’m concerned, there will always be boogie men and young imaginations.
If you ask me, Slender Man did not cause this crime. I think it’s a waste of time to put all of our focus on Slender Man and shame the creators of this mythical creature.
Instead, we need to dig deeper and put our energy where it will make a difference.
Let’s stop looking at the cartoon and look at the girls before us.
In case you missed my original post, here it is:
Overcoming Fears and The Slender Man