The case of two 12-​​year-​​old girls accused of stab­bing their friend mul­tiple times to impress a fic­ti­tious Internet bogeyman raises so many ques­tions for par­ents: How can we be sure our chil­dren can truly sep­a­rate reality from fan­tasy? What are the warning signs that chil­dren are con­fusing the two?

And how on Earth can we keep tabs on every­thing they’re con­suming online?

Police said the girls told them they attacked their friend on Sat­urday to win favor with Slen­derman, a make-​​believe online char­acter the girls said they learned about on a site called Creep­y­pasta Wiki, which is filled with horror stories.

Chil­dren of all ages are con­sumed with fan­tasy in books and movies such as “Harry Potter, “Twi­light” and “The Vam­pire Diaries,” and don’t seem to have a problem making the dis­tinc­tion between what’s real and what’s not. But a story like this makes any parent wonder: Whoa, maybe my kid doesn’t get it?

Read the article at CNN →