The “Creepy Clown” epidemic began in Flomaton, AL with “Flomo” aka Makayla Smith and some other, yet to be identified, creepy clowns allegedly trying to lure a kid into the woods.
Meet “Flomo Klown”
A friend asked me today if I think schools in South Jersey should ban clown costumes for Halloween. A New Haven, CT school district has already done so and others will certainly follow. I wish I had a good answer. One one hand, I wonder if it perpetuates the fear and on the other, I am aware that there are some terrified children having nightmares and severe upset at school over this. There are some who truly believe that clowns are going to magically materialize on the edge of any wooded or tree-lined area at any moment to snatch them up.
One would think the least threatening place to see a child dressed up as a clown would be at school… and I’m not so sure *clown is the go-to costume of choice among kids these days? *no offense to actual sweet-funny-not-creepy-clowns whose livelihood has been affected* I would be more concerned about older kids who will undoubtedly think it’s the best idea ever to dress up like creepy clowns and scare the crap out of kids as they trick-or-treat.
Philadelphia schools were taking the threats from various “creepy clown” accounts created on the photo sharing site Instagram seriously. Investigators, including Homeland Security, recently discovered a 13 year old girl behind one of them.
I stopped by FOX29 Good Day Philadelphia yesterday to discuss and ask a question of my own:
Should parents be held financially responsible in some way for resources wasted in these incidents?
Here are three simple things we can do to help kids avoid being sucked in by any (insert latest chain text, urban myth, social media horror) hoax drama:
1. Avoid connecting with people they don’t know IN REAL LIFE.
The fact that the faces behind several of the social media accounts scaring the bejeezus out of children everywhere are children themselves, is a perfect example of how it is impossible to verify someone’s true identity online unless you know them personally.
2. Question everything.
We as parents need to reiterate this (and remind ourselves) to kids because we are living in a world where people rely on the internet as a main source of news. Teach kids how to fact check crazy stories they might encounter online. Snopes is your friend – and if that doesn’t work, remind them that if something seems too good (or scary) to be true, it probably is!
3. Don’t spread fear.
Anything that has little or no evidence of truth behind it, should not be shared. Encourage kids to use logic and reason, with a dash of the common sense they were born with for good measure. If they see something that concerns them (e.g., scary clowns, chain text messages with instructions to “forward to 20 people in 15 minutes or I will be under your bed tonight”), they should not forward and share with all of their friends, and their friends and their friends.
Stop the madness.
Thanks for stopping by,