The psychology behind the creepy clown epidemic explained


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/WPRI) — Parents are on high alert ever since a nationwide spike in creepy clown-related incidents and threats.

Just this week in Rehoboth, Mass., police said a teen accused of making threats over social media admitted he was attempting to feed off the clown frenzy that has gripped the area.

Several schools and universities have also sent out warnings about the phenomena.

Some parents say they’re nervous and their kids are terrified.

“We’re gonna talk about it. I’ll talk about it with our kids and we’ll just kind of say you know there are some people who are trying to play this prank and they’re trying to be funny but still they’re strangers. So let’s keep our distance,” a parent said.

So, what exactly is this clown craze all about?

“It’s mostly about attention,” said psychology professor Guarav Suri.

“The internet also adds sort of steroids to this phenomenon because even if it’s not being covered on television it’s covered on someone’s Facebook page and that thing goes viral and all of the sudden that is more of a motivation for someone who is seeking attention to want to dress up in a clown outfit,” Suri said.

Some parents say they’re concerned about how these clown stunts will affect their children.

“It sounds like it all started out fun and games but the fact that some people are doing this to actually commit crimes and that it’s on social media. And children, if they’re watching this, are very impressionable and I’m concerned about them mimicking it,” a parent said.

Suri said parents should take a measured approach when talking to their children about this issue.

“I think it’s important for parents not to create hysteria or fear about this. Children should not be walking around thinking the world’s coming to an end. But at the same time, it’s important to be careful and prudent, as it always is,” Suri added.