Pictured as scary and ominous in various horror films, it isn’t a surprise that children correlate shadows with something to be afraid of. Even in some cartoons such as Scooby Doo, shadows are used to depict monsters, creating an atmosphere full of fear.
As a child, I was not only scared of shadows in general, but of my own shadow. At first I couldn’t understand why it moved with me wherever I went. It was something inescapable, which bothered me the most. Most kids, however, are afraid of their shadow when they first discover it. This could be because of how shadows are depicted in modern media or even just because these shadows were once foreign to kids. Being afraid of the unknown is a very common occurrence among children and even adults. Think of how you feel going to a new school or your first day at a new job, or even going on a date for the first time. It may feel unnerving not knowing how these things will be, but once they are completed the fears completely vanish. It’s like the expression “being in the dark”; when there is an absence of information on a topic one can feel completely lost. Conversely, when information is achieved, that same person feels “enlightened”. This concept can be applied to children and their shadows. At first, not knowing what a shadow is may be frightening. But once it is explained, the panic settles down and it becomes yet another part of life.
Here is a video of a child discovering her shadow for the first time: