The big news this week was the Slender Man Story. Specifically, the two 12 year old girls who were so taken with Slenderman that they plotted and carried out the attempted murder of their friend in order gain favor with Slender Man, who haunted them in their dreams.
The story is horrifying enough on its own. Twelve year olds? Girls? What’s this Slenderman thing? I looked it up. It’s basically a recently created horror story involving a faceless being in a black suit who targets children to steal/eat/absorb them. He sometimes has tentacles and was invented on the internet in 2009.
Even more horrifying?
My kids know about Slender Man, and they heard about it through Minecraft.
My kids are crazy for Minecraft and it’s a game I don’t mind them playing. It’s open ended, fosters imagination, planning, creativity, and cooperation. All of their friends play, and my kids age 4 through 16 play. There aren’t many games where a 4 year old girl can play with her teen brother!
Our homeschool friends are all happy Minecraft fans. The neighborhood kids play it. It’s an instant way for kids to connect with each other. It seemed like harmless fun.
Was I wrong? I asked the kids some questions and did some online research, and here is what I’ve found:
- Slender and Slenderman are games which involve the Slenderman myth, but are independent from Minecraft.
- There is a Slender Man mod (modification) for Minecraft, and players do play on Minecraft servers that include Slenderman.
- You can only play the Slenderman mod on computers. If you use a game console such as a PlayStation 4, you are “safe” from this mod. The Slenderman for Minecraft is a free mod, and it’s easy to download so you need to know what your kids are doing on Minecraft if you want to avoid it.
- You cannot mix consoles, so there’s no chance kids playing on a Playstation would be able to join a game with someone on a computer running the Slenderman for Minecraft Mod.
- Minecraft allows players to create their own servers, which becomes a shared online world. A server is created and then kids can play with their friends virtually. There are many popular servers that are open for players to join with special mods or themes, such as Creative servers, Capture the Flag servers, even Hunger Games Minecraft servers.
- If you never access anyone else’s server, you are safe from the Slenderman mod even if you play on a computer.
- Don’t confuse Enderman with Slenderman. The Enderman is a character in Minecraft which appears as a blocky black creature with purple eyes. Endermen can move blocks around and teleport. If you stare at them they will get mad and attack you. The Slenderman is the character based off the horror myth, which will psychically drain your Minecraft character and also teleports like the Endermen. Enderman is neutral, Slenderman is evil.
By the way, you can have up to 4 people playing at a time on a Minecraft Playstation 3 Edition*, and you don’t need to connect to the internet to play together. You only need one copy of the game. In my opinion buying the console version is a better deal – computers need one copy per computer and then must set up a LAN or server to play together.
Should you be worried about Slenderman? The girls in the story became obsessed with him after reading horror short stories on a website.
Yes, you should be concerned with the things your kids find on the internet. There are scary and completely inappropriate sites out there that kids will find entertaining.
Should you worry about Minecraft? I don’t think so. It’s easy to keep Slenderman off your devices- simply don’t join a Slenderman server or download the mod.
My advice? Talk to your kids. Make sure they know things on the internet aren’t always real. Help them learn to discern real from fake stories. Know what they are doing and what sites they are visiting. Keep it up- don’t think you can mention it once and be done.
Of course Slender Man isn’t actually real. However, Christians believe that the devil is real, and he can harass us. Those girls were disturbed. They became involved in the horror myth and the Dark One siezed the opportunity. He’s known as the Father of Lies and I absolutely believe he could use any story – but especially a horrifying one such as Slender Man- to influence people. If he can appear as “an angel of light” he can appear as a faceless man in a suit.
Need something to lighten the mood after this? Here’s the Philbaby standing and creeping along the couch at 6 months. He loves our little Minecraft toys* and will do anything- even walk- to get them!
*affiliate link. If you use my Amazon link, you help support this site- thank you!
A Glimpse Inside