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What Is Technophobia?

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  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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Technophobia may refer to two different types of conditions: fear of technology or antagonism toward technological developments. In the first case, technophobia can cause anxiety and discomfort when a sufferer comes into contact with technology, such as computers. The second type of technophobe may harbor feelings of hostility toward the changes that technology has introduced into society. The opposite position — the love of technology — is referred to as technophilia.

The type of technophobia that causes people to feel discomfort with technology is a fairly recent development, stemming from the exponential advances made in the field since the late 20th century. Moreover, since technology has affected nearly all aspects of life from work environments to education to leisure activities, these technophobes generally have a hard time getting away from it. As a result, their general quality of life can be negatively affected. For example, a general fear of technology can create anxiety and frustration in those people who have duties that require them to interact with technology that they feel uncomfortable using. Taking the time to carefully learn about technology changes, reading help articles, watching instructive videos, and undertaking appropriate training are helpful in reducing that fear and frustration among technophobes.

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When training is insufficient to help someone overcome technophobia, the person may be suffering from an irrational fear of technology. In such cases, therapy may prove useful. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy are often used to treat a variety of mental conditions including technophobia. Therapy may be used in connection with desensitization training.

Technophobia in the second sense — hostility to technological developments — has existed for a long time. Perhaps the first identified technophobes of this sort were a group of 18th century British workers who destroyed textile machines because they thought that the machines would reduce or eliminate the need for human resources. It is supposed that the term Luddite, a synonym for technophobe, came from Ned Ludd, one of the workers in the group.

Today, this type of technophobe often decries the amount of time people spend with technology, which is seen as bringing about the destruction of social relationships. A technophobe of this type may not see the value of a computer as an educational tool and may point to people who are addicted to the Internet or video games as examples of the destruction technology can wreak on society. By contrast, many younger people today are either neutral toward technology or, more commonly, technophiles.

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ceilingcat
Post 7

@sunnySkys - I agree. I also think life could be hard for a technophobic that just feels a little grouchy about technology. Technology constantly changes, especially in the workplace. If you feel grumpy about learning new things, you could easily fall behind at your job because you don't have the required skills.

I personally don't understand this type of person. I mean, if you have a true, clinical technophobia, fine. But if you just don't like technology, I think you just need to get over it!

sunnySkys
Post 6

Wow! I took psychology in school but I never saw technophobia on any list of phobias we looked at. However, I totally believe that a clinical technophobia could exist.

And I think it would make life very difficult for the afflicted person. These days, basic computer skills are required for pretty much every job. And you have to be at least proficient enough to check your email for most jobs as well as for school. If you were truly phobic of technology, you couldn't do any of these things!

There are some phobias that you can life with where you can avoid the thing you're afraid of, like the fear of flying. However, it's pretty difficult to completely avoid technology.

SarahSon
Post 5

I know there are several technophobia people out there, but I seem to know more who would be described as a technophile.

It may be because I am younger and live and work with people who are surrounded by technology. While I love to see the new and improved products that are coming out, this can get quite expensive.

If you were going to constantly have the newest model of something, you would have to make a lot of money.

I have many friends who are constantly buying a new phone, computer, Kindle, etc. They usually sell what they are currently using and apply that money to the new product. This way they aren't out as much money, but it still adds up pretty fast.

Fortunately for most people there is a balance. Using technology is a big plus in their life and not something they are afraid of or too engrossed in.

myharley
Post 4

When I read about the technophobia definition, I am reminded of a co-worker of mine who is very antagonistic toward technological developments.

It isn't that he is not capable of using them, he just chooses not to as often as possible. I think it is kind of funny to hear him grumble about how everybody is always engrossed with their computer, cell phone or video game.

He can really get on a rampage when it comes to teenagers and text messaging!

He lives a very simple life and does use these gadgets, but only when absolutely necessary. I see nothing wrong with someone choosing to life their life this way.

There are many times I can understand the simplicity of it, but there is no way I would be ready to give up these items that have become such a normal way of life for me.

bagley79
Post 3

I would say my mom is a little technophobic. This is something that I have seen in many people her age who still feel uncomfortable using computers and cell phones.

I could never understand her hesitation with using the computer, because she always loved to type. She just feels overwhelmed by using the mouse and navigating the internet.

She has gotten a little better over the years. The place where she worked finally implemented a computer system, and she was required to go through computer training in order to keep her job.

I don't think she had any difficulties with it, but she still doesn't get on the computer at home. My dad, on the other hand, uses the computer about as much as I do. She just relies on everyone else to look up things for her.

I don't see her using any new technology gadgets in the future. She has been able to get along OK up to this point, so doubt she will change much in the near future.

ZsaZsa56
Post 2

@chivebasil - I have a friend that sounds kind of like you. Except she takes it a few steps further. For the past 5 years she have lived in a house in the woods that has no electricity at all.

My friend lives with several other people that prefer to live a simpler more old fashioned life. I don't think any of them particularly like modern technologies, but their feelings might go a step beyond yours into some kind of actual phobia. Lots of people try to live off the grid for a little while, but my friend has done it for so long now that she obviously has some kind of skill at it and some sort of drive to stick with it. I think some of this comes from a real fear of living in modern life.

About their only convenience is a car that they use very rarely to go into town and get supplies. They are incredibly self sufficient. It is inspiring to see, but I like the convenience that technology affords. It opens your time up to so much more.

chivebasil
Post 1

I have always been kind of technophopic. I am not scared of technology, I just tend to find a lot of technological developments to be unexciting or trivial and I tend to be a late adopter. I know that this might sound kind of hollow coming from a guy posting on an internet message board but I can assure you that I am far behind the curve.

For instance, I don't have a smartphone, I don't have cable TV or an I-pod, I don't have a laptop computer or GPS in my car or any video game systems. I do not look down on anyone that has and enjoys these things, they are just not things that I have ever wanted. There are all kinds of ways to live a good life and it doesn't take a backpack full of gadgets to be happy.

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