Living in the 21st century and not knowing how to tweet or how to send an email feels overwhelming. The fierce competition in the job market and the high demand for tech skills increasingly necessitates that every candidate - no matter of age - has at least a basic comfort level with technology. However, technophobia , namely the constant and persistent fear of technology, is known to affect many people around the world. Although technophobia is not categorized as a specific phobia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is sometimes manifested in ways consistent with the diagnostic criteria in the manual. Among the most common symptoms of technophobia are: breathlessness, inability to think clearly, excessive perspiration, nausea, shaking, becoming angry or ‘losing control’ and much more.
Signs of technophobic people could be reluctance to use advanced technological devices like computers, tablets and smartphones, resistance to automating processes, having a critical stance on technological changes or implementation, unwillingness to change from one system to another or one piece of software to another.
Admit to technophobia and remove the shame
The first step that should be taken in order to overcome the fear of computers is to admit to your phobia. It is imperative that you realise that your phobia is natural and should not be treated as something that you should feel afraid or embarrassed about as it is neither a disease nor a reflection of your intellectual incapacity. In fact, it is a common problem faced by many individuals – no matter of age or education level – from head teachers to cleaners.
Recognise the information overload problem
Undoubtedly, we live in a digital age where information is ubiquitous across different media and digital platforms. The relentless pace of technological advancement compels us to keep up with new technologies which means being able to use the latest version of operating systems, learning how to use relevant apps that make our lives easier and so on. We all struggle to keep up with technology; it is only the degree of that struggle that is different. Try to take one small step at a time and gradually progress towards becoming tech savvy.
Invest in knowledge
You will never ever make become tech savvy if you don’t devote time and effort to educate yourself on new technologies or fields that you are not familiar with. Find out meaningful resources (these could be online resources, YouTube tutorials, a class or forum) that can give you sustained support or perhaps the opportunity to express your fear of technology. Make sure you invest in a friendly, non-threatening learning environment that encourages you to realise that failure is normal when learning new technologies.
Acknowledge the value of new technologies
Obviously, many technophobes will view technology as something that threatens their job security because they understand that failure to keep up with technological changes could make them obsolete. Others fear that the pervasiveness of computers could eliminate their ability to add a human touch to their work. Alleviate these fears by understanding how technology makes you a more valuable worker and how it empowers you to become more independent, more efficient and effective at work. Take into consideration the benefits you will receive in return for learning a new system or software, such as having more control and freedom over work.
Enlist the help of a mentor
Talk therapy with trained therapists can help significantly give vent to feelings of self doubt. Be sure to find a good mentor who can encourage you to gradually expose yourself to technological gadgets and reward every small step taken to overcome your fear.
All in all, technophobia is anything but an unnatural thing. We have all probably faced a feeling of discomfort when we were first exposed to a new technology. The key to overcoming this exaggerated fear is to acknowledge our aversion to modern technology and educate ourselves, understanding that technology exists primarily to help us become more productive and efficient in the workplace, which has become more demanding than ever.
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