Technophobia – What?
Technophobe: Someone who does not like,trust, or want to use technology, especially computers. (Macmillan EnglishDictionary) Technophobia is not a new term and technophobes have existed sincethe Industrial Revolution and probably for a lot longer in some shape or form.Today we are living in the Age of Technology. Things that were once deemedscience fiction are becoming a reality. We either accept these changes and movewith the times or we resist and become technophobes.
The reality is much simpler than sayingthat technophobes fear technological advance. Technophobes are anxious becausethe environment in which they live and work is changing. Most phobias areexpressed by a strong physical reaction. People who are claustrophobic suffer palpitationsand anxiety attacks when they are enclosed in a small area. An agarophobicsuffers in a similar way if they are exposed to the great outdoors. Technophobes,on the other hand, experience milder symptoms. They suffer feelings of selfdoubt and anxiety. They often feel insecure and obsolete. Some worry that theywill lose their job because they cannot keep up with the times. In more extremecases, technophobes convince themselves that technology will take over theworld or that humans will be controlled by computers and robots. At other timesthey are afraid that if they press the wrong button on their keyboard, thecomputer will explode.
In most cases technophobes belong to oldergenerations who were not brought up playing with computer games and mobilephones. They have never sent a text message or heard of an iPod. Not only dothey not possess a DVD, they still have not worked out how to use their VHS.These examples seem to validate the old saying: “You can’t teach an old dog newtricks.” It is understandable that technophobia exists. Experts in the field oftechnology are becoming younger and younger. Being taught by somebody who is youngenough to be your grandson goes against the laws of nature. Traditionallyinformation and knowledge has been passed down from older generations toyounger generations. Young people were taught to respect their elders in partbecause of the knowledge they possess. If this system is turned upside down,then what happens to the respect for our elders?
If ignorance is, in most cases, the causeof technophobia, then it follows that knowledge and learning is the way torectify the situation. What technophobes need is information. Simple computer classesoften prove highly successful, especially where the student groups are made upof peer groups; like-minded people of a similar age who are willing to learnbut who have no desire to be patronised by fellow students who are twenty yearsyounger and possibly quicker on the up-take. It is equally important thatgroups of technophobes who have decided “to give it a go” have an appropriateteacher; somebody as similar as possible to themselves in age. Somebody whowill send out a message that says “If I can do it, then so can you”.