GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Two 12-year-old girls are being accused of stabbing another girl 19 times in Wisconsin to please a fictional character named Slenderman, who they learned about online and believed to be real.
It's more difficult for children to distinguish fiction from fact and websites, television shows and video games can contribute to the confusion, said Steven Landman, a family therapist in Grand Junction.
"Unfortunately there's a lot of media that feeds into distorted thinking," Landman said.
Landman said these kinds of actions could be a sign of mental illness like character disorder.
"Character disorders would be the element that would lead to a child having no remorse and being anti-social," he said. "What these girls did was obviously anti-social and according to the report, their remorse was limited."
Mixing mental illness with an unclear sense of reality due to an online or other media influence and "we have the makings of a very, very evil young person," Landman said.
Landman recommends parents monitor their children's activity on the internet for as long as they are at home.
The stabbing victim is alive and in stable condition.