Creeping On America | Teen Ink

Creeping On America

April 19, 2011
By wespired GOLD, Circle Pines, Minnesota
wespired GOLD, Circle Pines, Minnesota
10 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"God has given me the ability, the rest is up to me, believe... believe... believe." -- Billy Mills (Ox Lake 2008)

There are many sources for a young adult to shape their lives from. Two sources are the culprit of this fear. The upbringing of the child is one of the most important times for a kid’s life.  The second is their environment (which includes television and the media) in which they live. The article, “Stranger-Danger or Fear of the near? Accounts on Fear of Sexual Abuse” Gives some explanation on the fear of sexual abuse that is related to “creeping.” This article, which is found in the Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, has information that adheres to any culture. According to experts there really is a true fear of sexual abuse and rape for young children. One portion of the study comes from a Swedish study on children s fear. It says “First and foremost, however, she emphasizes fear as a learned and identity-creating behavior in which stereotyped content functions to provide models for the behavior of girls and boys respectively. Tamm also develops these themes. She argues that fear of crime involves a process whereby girls are taught to be afraid.” (Tiby 3)This study is basically saying that it’s because of the parents of children today that put fear in the lives of their own children. Kids today label everyone including their friends as creeps. This label is especially prevalent on Facebook and in the classroom. The really sad part is that girls (more so that boys) are living in fear.
So what exactly is this word “creeper”, and what does it mean? To define the word accurately requires the use of definitions that is agreed upon by several people that live in this age. Urban Dictionary is a source that is very current and comes from fresh new definitions as used by today’s culture. This dictionary has three very appropriate definitions, which give very accurate definitions that relate to today’s social uses for the word. These Definitions are “A person who does weird things, like stares at you while you sleep, or looks at you for hours through a window. Usually a close friend or relative. You know right away if that person is a creeper or does creeper things. It is not hard to spot the creeper.”, “an offensively unimaginative word devised by tacky, brain-dead college students to describe people they deem sinister, indecorous, uncouth, or otherwise unpleasant.”, and the final definition “Someone who views your profile (multiple times) without saying anything.” Why would a word with such an ugly definition be so a heavily used against the main populous of modern America? We hear it every day in the malls, school, and on Facebook. With such a greatly used word like “creeper” used by the younger generation questions arise. Why do the young use the word? Why my generation? Some facts point to the way society treats Women.
According to Tamm (the author of the article on the Swedish study) girls are especially fearful due to increased independence into a world that screams sexuality. This study suggests that girls reach their peak of fear and independence at age 14. This may be related to the fact that they are then moving into an age when ‘childishness’ disappears and the girls find themselves in a life where gender and sexuality become accentuated.” (Tiby,3) So is it too farfetched to believe that our media plays a role in the fear of kids. It shouldn’t be too hard to understand where women are coming from, considering that most males, after seeing ads that suggest women are such sexual beings, should expect women to do the same things they are represented doing on TV? Most advertisements today are very sexual in nature. Many ads present seminude male/females in skimpy clothing. Such ads like “Axe Deodorant” (where there is often a shirtless male with many beautiful women touching his body all at once which would be creepy in definition) are very well watched. I think it’s safe to say our culture is gearing towards a sexual image that distorts sexual reality. Women should find the source of this injustice. It was wrong for their image to be tarnished by advertising, but unfortunately it’s the direction our society is taking with television. So why make everyday normal guys the scapegoat for this discrimination? Surely not all men are creepers?
The creepers in this instance where the people creating that false image of the female gender. So what does a female think about the term “creeper” and its role on Facebook? During the interview with Tacey Masters who’s a resident assistant from NDSU, I was able to pull some interesting responses out of her. When she was asked how often she uses the term “creeper” she said “At least once a day.” Then after asking if she thinks people on Facebook dig deeper than they need to, and if she feels creeped on she said “yes, but Facebook is a tool for creeping.” So after observing her reaction to the question on Facebook it seems obvious that people are uncomfortable with people going into things they think are private, and also that the term is widespread in the younger age group. During another particular interview with a girl that goes to NYU, named Riah Wolf, I asked the question “Do you fear sexual abuse?” She replied by saying “Yes, because New York has a lot of hobos and criminals.” this statement suggests that overall hobos are dangerous and New York has a greater population of criminals than anywhere else, but that leaves a new question to be answered: “Does New York have a large population which means that overall there are more criminals?” Could she be in greater danger talking to a random stranger on the streets of NY than anywhere else?
It turns out the probability of meeting a criminal is just as likely anywhere else if the ratio is equal. After digging deeper a “creep freak” could find out the population of New York is at a steep 19,541,453 people according to the U.S. Census Bureau; and after crunching numbers, from Data that came from 2009 FBI uniform crime reports, it can be noticed that after taking the number of forcible rapes from both North Dakota and New York and divideing it by their populations they both have a rate that is within .00022% of each other. The ratio is strikingly close to each other. In New York the percent of forcible rapes is .00013% and in North Dakota that rate is even higher at .00035%. Even so that is .00013% of New York which has people getting raped. Creepers are a real fear, just not as much as we are programmed into thinking through so many different sources. Riah Wolf of NYU just like any other person would be foolish not to watch their back and be cautious while walking down a dark alley in New York, but are we taking this fear and applying it to every person we meet?
So if the rates show similar ratio’s between high and low populated areas, why do we still have a fear of one place over the other? Could it be the way we are brought up as children? One particular event that has shaken this nation to be more suspicious is the attacks on September 11th, 2001. While these acts were not sexual in nature they did have an impact on our nation’s children and their trust. According to the Journal of Loss and Trauma their article “Adolescent Stress Responses to a Single Acute Stress and to Continuous External Stress: Terrorist Attacks” continuous stress on children results in fear. This shouldn't come to a surprise to anybody who does any regular thinking. If you are put under stress and feeling of loss on a day to day basis you will grow more fearful. Does it come to anyone’s astonishment that when the media replays over and over again the loss of peoples loved ones? Would it shock the average American to consider the effects of every teacher in your classroom stopping class for a moment of silence to reflect on the loss of many Americans lives? Some might say today that my teacher was being creepy. The real creeps are the terrorists! I just think teachers are doing what they are taught to do, which is to teach today’s youth. Indirectly they teach them to perceive every overly interested friend or relative as a creep because of the high stress environment that takes away their security.
I still remember today the date and time that my security was taken from some creepers with a cause. The Twin Towers in New York were taken down while I was in 4th grade. I was still in class when school stopped and the teacher got real quiet and told us to watch the TV as the planes crashed into the towers. Even when I was very little I felt the pain for the loved ones who had just lost a family member because some terrorists had hijacked an airplane just to prove a point. Since that day airports have been in fear, and tourists are afraid to get on airplanes. The creeper scare was just too much for America at this point. There were many cases of unjustified searches of suspicious looking travelers that were just your typical business person or site seeker, and many prejudice implications placed on Middle Eastern people. Since the 9/11 attacks the U.S.’s international flights has dropped to a low 5.9% from 9.4% in 1994 according to Carl Bonham a professor in Economics at the University of Hawaii Manoa (Bonham 4). The people that are flying on flights today are the same kids that experienced the attacks when they were still in elementary.  This dramatic decrease in international flights is from the associated risk that came from the attacks on 9/11.
So how does this fear correlate to the fear of creeping? In the end fear is fear. Kids in the past 10 plus years have seen increases in stress and slight trauma. Today kids have college, grades, Facebook, and many other places they input time into that will increase stress which then adds to fear and anxiety. Even today’s movies are meant to scare children. How could movies that have scary looking men chasing after little children not put the fear of creepers into the lives of children? Jeepers Creepers for example just by title give a clue to the film about to be watched. There are more horror films than ever according to Media Awareness Network psychological violence has amplified 325 per cent from 1999 to 2001 (Violence in Media Entertainment, 1). An article from the Journal of Popular Film and Television explains how child horror films have changed through time. This article has a great quantity of information that should expose one of the cause’s we are such a worried society today. This article shows the stem that media has played in initiating a fear in children. The article talks about how movies are very popular when they star children whose characters are either demon possessed or they are just crazy and violent kids who want to kill everyone they love. Towards the end of the article they begin to explain how these movies have left an enduring consequence for all children. This information should make it obvious why we have a fear in America for school shootings and kids who are just plain bad for the community.
To reduce the negative effects parents have tried many different methods. One such method which is widespread is Co-viewing. Co-viewing is where the parent watches the movie or TV show with the child and asks questions as they watch it together. This sounds like a great idea and all, but studies show differently. In “Co-viewing and children’s fears” The author relates Children’s TV-related fears are linked with elevated TV Exposure, parental co-viewing, and discussing TV programs with parents. So to try and put an end to potential fear parents are now adding more fuel to creeper flames. Now we have scared children that are hiding under their covers at night worrying about imaginary freaks. After seeing all this evidence it’s hard to look past the fact that kids are now pointing fingers at each other and labeling friends as weirdo’s or stalkers just because they went on a public website that they put up of themselves. This is an unfair label to call an innocent child or grown up man. Our society is rearing a population of leaders that are now able to point a finger and incriminate an innocent victim just because he seemed shady. How else could our parents be messing with our ability to trust in a dynamic “finger pointing” society?  
The title of the article “Co-Sleeping: Help or Hindrance for Young Children’s Independence?” would almost be enough to stop sleeping with their child if they knew it was a hindrance. Once again parents are trying to medicate the problem with more “fuel on the flames.”  This article was based off of a study from 83 mothers that had preschool aged children. Co-sleeping is much like Co-viewing without the conversation. During Co-sleeping the mother or father sleeps with their child in the attempt to eliminate the fear of the child. Instead they found that Co-sleeping can partially interfere with the independence of children. When kids are no longer confident without their parents always being everywhere to hold their hand they will have insecurity with everyone they meet. Now kids feel safe only when with an adult and having a structured talk during uncomfortable situations. What happens when they are in school without their loving family? What you get is a child that sees every individual as a creeper.
Sleeping Patterns also change other than the amount of creepers they meet every day. Often times the child that had the co-sleeping parents had more night awakenings and depended on the constant sleeping of their parents. Due to the need of the parent during sleeping, there is only one more thing to wean the young child off of other than a bottle. All these methods of child rearing that are supposed to eliminate the fear Media has placed into their child’s life are backfiring on the parents. Why can’t we just go back to the way things used to be when our parents were kids? My mom and dad both were avid in the outdoor and would have thought twice about stopping by a neighbor’s house to visit for a while without parental permission. Nowadays our kids are shut inside in fear some man in a van is going to pull up and nab him/her with a teddy bear and a piece of candy. Have we turned into nut cases, maybe we are the creeps that caused the problem in the first place? Who’s the real creeper!!!
On the contrary, I feel that we aren’t the problem. I think that would be hypocritical to point a finger at ourselves. I think the real problem is change which comes from newer times. The only medication is further change. Our culture is not going to improve by calling out “bad guys” or identifying potential nutcases. We need to trust in each other and put an end to our fears. It’s a shame when some nice kid asks a girl out he doesn’t know (with perfectly pure intentions) just to get shot down and placed under a restraining order. So I guess this is how our culture is going to be for the next 20-50 years until time brings about a new trend that will be either positively or negatively affected by our current habits. Until then I guess everyone will just keep on Creeping on America in search of the source that started this fear in the first place. Keep on Creeping America!  
Annotated Bibliography: Creeping On America
                                This paper will be my annotated bibliography which will give some descriptions of several sources I used for my Commentary on Fear in America. I’ve researched several different resources that all give information from different sides and different problems related to our nations distrust issue. I hope these findings will be clearly traced back to America’s (possibly false) suspicions of others.
AJ Johnson. Personal interview, April 2011

AJ represents the average American kid. He’s an African American friend that lives on my floor who answered my questions in a very humorous way. I wanted a kid that I knew many other people liked so I could choose someone most people modeled their lives by. I think he was a very good subject and represents my age group the best.
Higgins, George; Ricketts, Melissa; and Vegh, Deborah. “The Role of Self-Control in College Students Perceived Risk and Fear of online Victimization.” American Journal of Criminal Justice, Oct. 2008 Vol. 33 issue: number 2 Pg.223-233
                This article should be the “cream de la cream” of all the sources I use in my commentary. The information all deals with the fear that I would relate back to the little “c” word (aka Creeper) which is so prevalent in society today for people around the age of 18-25. With 7.5 million users on Facebook there is the potential fear of being victimized. In popular social networking sites such as facebook and twitter there is millions of people who put up important information and personal images of themselves for all to see. This article examines why people are so fearful, but I want to know whether the risk is perceived or real. This article should be a leap forward for my further knowledge of the psychiatry behind the “fear”.   
 Jackson, Chuck. “Little, Violent, White the Bad Seed and the Matter of Children.” Journal of Popular Film and Television, Jan. 2000, Vol. 28 issue: number 2 pg.64-73 April 3, 2011.
                This article is has a great amount of information that should expose one of the reasons we are such a fearful society today. This article shows the stem that media has played in creating a fear of children. The article talks about how movies are very popular when they star children whose characters are either demon possessed or they are just crazy and violent kids who want to kill everyone they love. Towards the end of the article they begin to explain how these movies have left an enduring consequence for all children. This information should make it obvious why we have a fear in America for school shootings and kids who are just plain bad for the community.  I hope this information will help put an end to this fear and give kids the freedom to go to school without having a target on their back from fearful parents.

“Jeepers creepers movie poster” April 2011. http :// April 18, 2011.

This image is to complement the paragraph that refers to the movie Jeepers creepers and talks about how today’s movies are developed with fear and creepers in mind. I hope this give a taste of the type of horror the movie is meant to give.
Keller, Meret and Goldberg, Wendy. “Co-Sleeping: Help or Hindrance for Young Children’s Independence?” Infant and Child Development: (2004) 369-388. April 1, 2011 <>.
               In this article there is a huge amount of facts that relate to the reasons for Co-sleeping and some effects of the behavior in toddlers and younger children. By Co-sleeping I mean it as a professional term that means to “sleep with”. Kind of like a mother and her child, or a brother and his younger brother. The author uses a lot of information that come from studies done with children in the U.S. and contrasts it with other societies and nations. She talks about how Caucasian parents that start Co-sleeping with their kids after the age of one experience many night awakenings and sleeping issues. I think the information that comes from this article in tandem with the other sources I use will be a great help in proving my point. I hope to use this along with information on TV induced fears in young children to make a connection between our societies need for TV and how it drives our kids to co-sleep with their parents which then translates into bad sleeping habits.
Metro US. “Man with binoculars” April 2011. April 18, 2011<>

This photo is an image that clearly falls into the category of today’s creeping definitions. Most people my age from 15-30 will easily find this image creepy. Whenever a man is looking intently or has a pair of binoculars people automatically assume they are looking into their personal business. This man could just be interested in bird watching. Who knows?
Paavonen, E.J. ““Do parental co-viewing and discussions mitigate TV-induced fears in young children?” The Authors: (2009) 773-780. April 1, 2011
               This article is much like the article on Co-Sleeping. This goes in depth into not only the effects of parents watching television with their kids, but it also talks about the effects on kids by television. This article gives brief overviews on the social context of our society today with television and also how that may be a hindrance to the kids involved.  Some other useful data in this article comes from the graphs and written information about the frequency of children watching television. It also covers who they watch TV with and when. This will be a very useful article in my paper because I can use the information along with the information about Co-sleeping with adolescents and connect the two proving how our society has reared our own kids into fear.
Riah Wolf. Personal interview, April 2011.

Riah is a very good friend of mine who gave a wonderful perspective from a state that is far away from ND. I was very pleased to get some east coast/big city perspective on “creeperism”. Riah graduated from high school with me so I know she has defiantly began changing from her experience in New York so I can be sure we are getting an accurate response on what it is to be afraid of creepers in New York.
 Ronen, T. “Adolescent Stress Response to A Single Acute Stress and To Continuous External Stress: Terrorist Attacks” Brunner Rutledge Health Studies: 261-282. April 1, 2011.
               This will be one of my key articles in my commentary. This article will be very useful because it can be connected back to the September 11th terrorist attacks that happened not so long ago and tie it in with the new information. This is very current, and pertains wholly on today’s social context. This article is more geared toward children that are brought up on a day to day basis of real live violence and murder from terrorist attacks, but I feel like today’s kids are faced into violence every day by the media. Every day kids watch violent movies and television. This cannot be healthy for a young person. The authors did their study on two groups of Israeli children and found some shocking results. Due to increases violence and fear that these children were experiencing they showed higher levels of stress and some very serious disorders that won’t pertain to my paper whatsoever, but the lightest evidence on the effects of violence will do just fine.
Tacey Masters. Personal interview, April 2011.

I chose Tacey, because she is also well liked as my other interviewee AJ Johnson. I wanted her especially because I wanted a female perspective in the paper. Tacey is a very average girl who has very certain opinions on topics. She also very honest and sincere so I can always count on having valid information that has no flaw of lies.
“Three Creepers” 2011., April 18, 2011
This is a clip from the SNL skit/music video “The Creep”. This is a very well known video poking fun at the idea of creepers. The picture itself is a perfect representation of what our culture views a “creeper” as looking like. I hope this puts an image that is relatable and sparks the idea of creeper into my reader’s minds.

Urban Dictionary. “Creeper” March 2005. April 18, 2011

This is a great source because it has the freshest information that comes from the street. A word that is as new as “creeper” can only be accurately defined by the culture that brought it into existence. I hope these definitions help the reader follow closely to each part of my paper.

The author's comments:
This was suppose to give my generation the conviction to give up their suspicions and to end the worry of creeping.

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This article has 1 comment.

wespired GOLD said...
on May. 11 2011 at 1:18 am
wespired GOLD, Circle Pines, Minnesota
10 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"God has given me the ability, the rest is up to me, believe... believe... believe." -- Billy Mills (Ox Lake 2008)

So any thoughts? Do you think Creeping is reality, or do you think way too many people are afraid/suspicious of others?