What is Technophobia?
Breaking down the word itself is straightforward:
Phobia = fear of
Techno = prefix of technology,
Combined we get, fear of technology.
Perhaps one of the most famous historical manifestations of technophobia can be found in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Modern media has since similarly harnessed society’s widespread anxieties surrounding technology with movies like Ex Machina, in which a lifelike robot turns against humans, and more recently The Circle, which draws upon the issue of data privacy in the social media age.
Dr. Larry Rosen, a professor at the California State University, notes that there are three main categories of technophobes:
1. Uncomfortable users
2. Cognitive computerphobes
3. Anxious computerphobes
Technophobia is not like traditional phobias. It doesn’t invoke a sense of bloodcurdling fear, but instead disrupts our peace of mind in more subtle ways.
Unfortunaly for technophobes, technology is the one thing no one can escape.
Technology is not only present in our personal lives, but also in the workplace which can make running a business hard if you suffer from technophobia. Businesses that delay updating their softwares or researching optimal tech solutions may be putting themselves at risk. They may be losing an edge against competitors who are utilizing technology and automation for growth. Furthermore, they may be endangering their security by using outdated software.
As a leader in your company, your instinct should not be to shy away from new technology, as
these things are designed for your benefit, not your deficit.
Even if you as an individual feel comfortable in the modern digital world, and do not identify as a technophobe, you may still be running a business that has an anti-technology culture. This is because tech-induced anxiety is more pervasive in society than one might suspect. According to a 2015 survey by researchers at Chapman University, three of the top five fears that Americans have are technology related: cyberterrorism, corporate tracking of personal information, and government tracking of personal information.
What does this tell us?
- People value privacy and prioritize security.
- Even if you are a technophobe, you’re not alone.
The important thing is to not let that anxiety become an obstacle to your business’ growth and operations.
Recognize and Understand the Technophobia in and Around You
We tend to fear the unknown, and to many of us, technology is exactly that. With its invisible networks and inner workings, our computers and smartphones seem to work like magic. It can leave us feeling baffled and helpless, such as when we accidentally click a malicious link that leads to endless pop-ups.
Moreover, technology is ubiquitous, and in an almost counterintuitive sense, reliant upon itself. For example, software that runs on computers are inaccessible when there are hardware failures. Cloud computing cannot work without an internet connection. In short, business owners and managers have good reason to harbor technophobia, because if one thing goes wrong, several employees may be prevented from doing their jobs.
Equally concerning is our reliance on technology. At this point it’s nearly impossible to envision a productive workday without the use of computers, the different softwares housed by these machines, and even the apps on our phones. It’s even not uncommon to feel anxious when you’re trying to check your work email on-the-go, but your phone isn’t getting WiFi or LTE.
Examining the psychology behind technophobia shows us that it typically stems from not being in control when it comes to our software, online activity, and smart devices. When we’re not in control, the possibilities of potential disaster seem unlimited. As with anyone who strives for success in the business world, it’s easy to have the tendency to micromanage everything in sight. However, technology makes this not merely difficult but unnecessary. It allows, rather than forces us to relinquish control by automating tedious and error-prone tasks.
The good news is, we can shift our mindsets and actions to actualize the reality that technology is always working with us, not against us.
Overcoming Technophobia to Help Your Business Grow
Check in regularly with your existing software and devices. While it’s not necessary to be an expert in how they work, you only stand to gain from familiarizing yourself with your own tech investments. That way when updates do occur, you’re adapting to them in increments rather than all at once – so stay on top of your updates instead of putting them on the backburner.
There’s no pressure for you to be tech-savvy, but you should have a team of experts available to answer your questions and help you in times of need. Get to know your options, one of which is outsourcing IT services. Express any concerns you have, regardless of how trivial you might find them. Most importantly, have a disaster recovery plan ready to implement at any time.