Arachnophobia , media fueled condition?

Bob the thief

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I was doing a school presentation for a few classes today and I found some really interesting things about stereotypes and peoples fear of spiders. The first class had one kid that kept saying how spiders where in his house all day so that didn’t last to long. But that’s to be expected of a first grader, the second was when I noticed the stereotype in action. Some of the younger girls where scared of the spiders and they didn’t want them near them. But after a while they calmed down and saw that they where not a threat and I was able to walk around with the kitter keeper in my hand so they could see it.

So, compare this to the other classes I had during the day….
The next two where mostly k-3 grade and the teachers where really interested the kids mainly wanted to see the big bugs lots where curious. Those went very well.
However what happened when I got to the 5th graders was unexpected even after a time to adjust to the spiders being there they where still very scared of them unlike the curious 1st graders. I have finally seen for the first time how the media affects the image of spiders of course they do have the instinct not to get near them but the media fuels the engine that makes them look terrifying. The younger children although some where scared after a while showed great curiosity. Then as they where getting closer to teenagers they started to see them as terrifying and tons of them where scared out of there wits. If they have a fear after this stage when their teenagers they usually wont get within 6 feet of a spider. If constantly scared of spiders by the time their adults they get arachnophobia or Severe arachnophobia. My boss had severe arachnophobia she would never put her hand anywhere dark, she wouldn’t sleep because she though spiders where gona come in her sleep if she saw a spider she would freak out and start crying. From her I learned arachnophobia is a severe condition. But I’m starting to think is it mainly fueled by the media or are some people just born with it?

I mean I have never seen someone around 6-7 years old with an extreme fear of spiders.
 

Code Monkey

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Spiders, rats, roaches, snakes, you name it, it's all a societally amped up and destructively validated fear based upon a most likely innate caution regarding potentially harmful animals. We didn't just magically appear one day philosophising and walking upright - we've still got much of the brain and nervous system of tiny mammals scurrying through the tree branches hoping some snake doesn't make a meal out of us.

But, what starts off as a natural sense of cautiousness is turned inside out into blind stupidity by a culture largely determined by moronic impulses. My parents, for whatever reasons, also never possessed fear of any animals - my mother greatly hated having any sort of pest insect in the house, but that was the worst of it. As such, my curiosity of bugs and turtles and snakes and amoebas and slime molds and all manner of strange stuff was encouraged.

Conversely, consider the social environment of your average child. Behavior which regards the spider (or other "nasty" critter) as horrible is often rewarded, but the real kick in the nads is that behavior which regards the nasty critter as cool or interesting is severely punished through teasing and other forms of social ostracisation.
 

Bob the thief

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I never got teased I grew up catching bugs all the time in the summer though :p. Many see us as insane for keeping these critters
 

Valael

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Originally posted by Code Monkey
Conversely, consider the social environment of your average child. Behavior which regards the spider (or other "nasty" critter) as horrible is often rewarded, but the real kick in the nads is that behavior which regards the nasty critter as cool or interesting is severely punished through teasing and other forms of social ostracisation.


Of your average child?



I receive endless streams of crap for being into spiders and other animals/critters.




I firmly believe arachnophobia is nothing more than human stupidity/ignorance.

Proof being the parents here posting their little kids holding a tarantula, while most adults literally run the other way when approached by a spider.





Stupidity is the one thing that pisses me off more than anything -- and knowing it's an unjustified fear is even worse (Some of the most scared people KNOW it won't hurt them, but they're still scared)
 

Code Monkey

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Originally posted by Valael
Of your average child?

I receive endless streams of crap for being into spiders and other animals/critters.
Yes, child. You're not going to turn around and channel the feelings of being different into a dislike which will then be channeled into a phobia.

Nobody makes it to adulthood perfectly comfortable with some given "nasty" critter and then develops a phobia to them outside of a traumatic event or mental illness.

Children on the other hand can easily be conditioned into fear of all manner of perfectly harmless or neutral subjects. We try to use this mechanism to our advantage with conditioning them against strangers, drugs, and guns and wind up with a bunch of agoraphobes with no concept of moderation and fearful of an inanimate tool. We do the same with spiders, snakes, rats, and other animals like this.
 

Valael

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No, I meant you saying a child is picked on for thinking spiders are cool.


I was pointing out children aren't the only ones :p

The crap I receive about keeping tarantulas and snakes is borderline harassment.
 

Code Monkey

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Well, that much is true. But as "weird" adults, I think we just assume it comes with the hobby. I'm a little numb to it by now having grown up hearing, "You let him keep WHAT?" from every 3rd cousin of my parents :)

Now I just try to educate where I can, and where someone is clearly a moron, I quietly move along.
 

deifiler

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well i used to do talks to kids, when i was in year 6 (english school years, around age 10-11) and i did them to the infats (kindergardens?) and the rest of the years

i can say that I've NEVER been called weird for keeping them, other than by the occasional moron girl (the type you see in these crappy US chick flicks, y'know the 'perfect' girl _stereotype_)


the people that suprise me are my mums friends when theyare round and want to see them, I've only ever seen one of her friends that wouldn't go near it...

Dessicatas mum held my spider a few years back

But yeah, age 12-15 i'd say is the prime area for 'arachnophobia'
 

Nixy

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I was a loner as a child. And a violent feral little B**ch. My cercumstances were of the variaty that I was extremly antisocial.
So I didn't have friends to freak out and I didn't get picked on because I picked back.
Most of the time I had a total. "Do not talk to me, look at me, or attempt any form of contact with me and I will remain quiet, introspective and nonviolent" phlosophy.
I hated everyone and just wanted to be left completly alone.
I did love animals of every sort and shape though, and no fear of them outside of wasps after the hive incident and a general caution when screwing with anything I didn't know about.

My children. I have always tried to instill respect, curiosity and the same general caution. It's ok to look, it's ok to admire, it's ok to desire. But do not touch unless you learn about it. Or in the case of little ones. Not untill momma says it's ok too.
My children know I will happily explor things with them and they know they can ask me about any question under the skies.

On another note I can give you two examples of people. One having a Phobia and and one acting on Total uneducated close minded nastiness.

My mother had been playing in a barn when she was little. A heavy piece of equipment fell on her and she was stuck for a bit. Evedently spiders had taken up heavey residence and quite a number of them crawled all over her including over her face while she was stuck in the gloomy semi dark.
It left her with a heavy phobia.
She would see a spider, cover it with a bowl and go get someone to remove it for her.
My older sister picked up my mothers reaction over the years and is Utterly arachnophobic. To the point of being physicaly Ill.
My mother, upon hearing of the two roseies when we first started in this hobby shuddered but said nothing wrong about it, and over the course of the months went from Not being able look into the room where they are kept. To going in and sitting and looking through the glass. To leaning forward to admire them, to purchasing more for the twins. And she is Now up to holding on in a deli cup with the lid off with me with her for emotional support and to keep the T in the cup.
Her goal is to one day hold our little A. Versi color all by herself.
She is Working on her fear. Because she hates the way it feels and wants to be part of the twins hobby and understands that her personal reaction over the years was valad from her experience but unneeded now.

Then you have my mother in law.
Who is a hateful spiteful evil minded woman that hates Everything.
There is no such thing as pets.
No one should have pets of Anykind.
I am a Horrable mother for liking and exposing my children to filthy nasty ugly bugs. A horrable wife for spending money on them.
She attempts to make the twins nothing only fear their own pets but to avidly Hate them. Always saying how ugly and nasty they are. She once told them right in front of me that their T's were going to get out and kill them. At which point I told her to shut the F*** up. I'm usualy respectful of the elderly and try to understand their points of view. But I won't have her turning my children into phobics.
She is hateful to the point of threatening to bring a can of bug killer over and spray them. Or knock their tanks over and step on them.
yes she is an insane woman. This is just the tip of the iceberg of her hostile nasty cruel nature.
She hates everything and hates that other people have different opinions then her.
If she is disagreed with that person is Stupid.
I am a Total and complete Idiot in her eyes, not to mention a "twisted sicko" for "making" my children like tarantulas.
-
As for other kids.
All the children in the twins classes show an interest when the twins talk about them(all the time. :) )
And I will be taking a few in kritter keepers for a show and tell when the weather is warmer.

My older two.
My son is really getting into the T's.
My daughter, though she doesn't like them and doesn't want anything to do with them. Doesn't object to the rest of us liking or having them.
She will be 16 the 29th of this month and though she used to run around with pockets full of bugs and warm when she was little. She thinks All of them are creepy now.
I think this is because all her friends have always reacted with squeals and screams and aversions.
My husband. Who was against having any but tollerated them because the twins love them so.
Now has his Own pink toe. He named her Silky and now handles her all by himself.
Well, except when he calls for help when she manages to evade him and head to that spot between his shoulder blades...
But education has changed His view on them.
And now he has gone from againast them, to openly aproving of them.
Except for the ones that still freak him out. :)

Anyway.
That's my blather on the subject.

:)
 

genious_gr

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Originally posted by Bob the thief
I never got teased I grew up catching bugs all the time in the summer though :p. Many see us as insane for keeping these critters

Can't wait for the weather to heat up a bit so I can... hit the fields:D
 

The_Phantom

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I used to scream "bloody murder" when ever I saw a spider when I was a kid. I was definitly an extreme arachnophobe from as young as 4 to age 14. I mentioned that it was a movie that terrified me and made me afraid of them, which is why I hate spider movies. A perfectly normal kid could go to the movies and see eight legged freaks with his parents and come out a total arachnophobe. Im not talking about a kid who owns tarantulas, I mean a kid that doesnt.
 

Nixy

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It's funny.
Eight legged freaks was the movie that spured the twins Wanting a tarantula. Before they had expressed a liking.
After that movie.
It was a Love.
It's still one of their favorite movies and watch it with their T's.
Movies can only create a deep seated phobia in a child if the parents fail to talk about it with them.

Then again I am a horror movie nut.
I love them, the twins love them.
They have grown up with Freddy and Jason and Mike Myres.
They Loved The Ring and thought it was Neat when they did the girl crawling out of the TV part.
Talking to your kids.
Not AT your kids but TOO them, and actualy Listening to what they have to say is the deviding line between having a realtionship with your kids, or just being a supplier of food and housing to a total stranger you Call your child.

My opinions anyway.
 

Arachnopuppy

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I don't think arachniphobia is social driven nor ignorance. I had arachnaphobia before I came into the hobby. I really think that some, or maybe many, human minds are set at early stages of childhood to fear certain shapes, probably those that are alien to the basic mammalian structures (a head, 4 legs, a body, a tail). An example is my nephew, whose been around me all his life (2 years so far). He feared the spider as long as I could remember, and as far as I know his parents never said or did anything to make him that way. My neice, on the other hand, is completely fine with my spiders. Same parents. Same environment. Just the other day, I showed my other nephew my tarantula and he started crying. Strangely enough, both his parents are not at all afraid of my tarantulas and actually try to encourage their son sometimes to not be afraid of the little creatures. All three of these kids are below the age of 4. For what reason that they started to fear such creatures and why not others? I will continue to observe and analyze.

I really think that persistent arachnophobia is social driven, stupidity, and/or ignorance. Personally, I think persistent phobia of any kind is one or all of those three.
 

sunnymarcie

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Well said Nixy:)

Can we take the nasty, rotten, mother in law and tie her down
.............and put the BIGGEST T we can find on her face?
I really hate people like that!!!!!!:mad:
I think the T would enjoy it more than me:} LOL!
 

Static_69

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i say put a full grown t. blondi on her face......or a full grown cobalt blue and let it tag her a few time on the face :p


Risto
 

pategirl

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I had to do a speech in my senior english class, and I chose to do it on tarantulas. I only had one at the time, a rosie named Mildred. Everyone within two desk lengths of me moved when i sat down with her. I'm not talking about just girls....high school football players and such too. There was only one person who even remotely had an interest in holding her, but some of them were curious. I didn't allow any of them to hold her, partly because I didn't want her hurt, but also because I knew some people were terribly afraid of her. I also took a T to my college public speaking class for a speech. I had pretty much the same reactions, but with an A. Avic.
 

Code Monkey

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Originally posted by lam
I don't think arachniphobia is social driven nor ignorance. I had arachnaphobia before I came into the hobby. I really think that some, or maybe many, human minds are set at early stages of childhood to fear certain shapes...
While I echoed a similar idea in my post, I think it is socialisation that turns it into a persistent phobia even in children.

Most intelligent animal behavior, including ours, is often a weighted system of protagonistic and antagonistic impulses. This has been studied fairly extensively as it relates to novel objects and very intelligent animals typically have a very strong drive to seek out novelty which is countered at the same time by a apprehension towards that same novelty. The amount of balance is the difference between discovering a new food source or "curiosity killing the cat".

So fine, our minds, still having innate instincts going back 50 million years, may have an additional apprehension about the spider and other creepy crawlies. That doesn't mean that the fear persisting past young childhood isn't caused primarily through social pressures. Children are afraid of roller coasters, large dogs, thunder storms, and any other myriad of potentially threatening novel events/objects they encounter. I believe in the vast majority of cases whether that toddler/early childhood fear is conquered or strengthened is dependent upon social factors.

If every time your nephew cried at the big hairy spider his mother reassured him and continued exposure was made along with reassurance and education, the fear would dissipate and become respect. But, for most children this is not the case. They see their parents and their peers shrieking and acting like frightened monkeys at the little spider, and/or habitually killing the "nasty, dangerous" critters and what is a base instinct becomes phobia because it is constantly reinforced.
 

Nixy

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sunnymarcie and Static, as much as that thought is appealing in my more nasty daysdreams..
I wouldn't put the T though that kind of abuse......
As hateful as the woman is. And I Try not to dislike people. I Really Try... But 20 years of knowing this woman has convinced me she is just well beyond hope of finding a heart in her and I really question at times if she has a soul.
Gods only knows what it would do to the T.
Scar it for life possably.
 

MizM

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I have notcied the same phenomena with k-3rd graders and jr. high kids.

When presenting to the little 'uns, they exhibit SIGNS of fear, big eyes and such. But once they see me handle a T, they are scrambling to get in line when it is "touch time."

Jr. high kids, on the other hand, have PRECONCIEVED notions of these things and many of them, especially the girls, will move to the other side of the room and stay there through the whole presentation, refusing to even come close.

Yes, our children LEARN fear. Hopefully, we will all have the opportunity to get to the little ones with our message of these gentle giants. If you haven't already done so, call up a local elementary school and volunteer to bring your babies in for a little show and tell. It doesn't have to be a formal presentation... just sit and show them how gentle they are.

If anyone would like help with presentation materials, I have handouts, posters, and I've even created some word search puzzles to get them interested.

SPREAD THE WORD!! Education.... Appreciation... Preservation!
 

SkyeSpider

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Originally posted by terridumonte
If anyone would like help with presentation materials, I have handouts, posters, and I've even created some word search puzzles to get them interested.
I'd be most interested in that :)

-Bryan
 
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