This post appeared on Quora March 6, 2020.
No and no.
This is not an either/or situation. Children who are presented with a Jack in The Box are not afraid of them at first. The jump scare of it popping out at them, however, instills a startle response.
Some children find this funny. Some find it scary. Some don’t care.
The ones who were scared by the startle wind up thinking they’re creepy. Some grow up to write them into horror films because they’re not alone in having been scared by them.
Immediately blaming horror films for it is illogical. Most two year olds don’t get to watch horror films.