According to the Holy Grail of psychology, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, phobias can be grouped into one of five categories: “animal”, “blood-injection-injury”, “natural environment”, “situational” or “other”. All the things we sincerely fear can be listed under one of these headings, and today, many phobias related to technology have crept in among the more traditional fears of things like spiders and heights.
Tech-related fears are an actual thing, and we now have a long list of fears relating to all things technological. Do you suffer from any of these phobias?
“The abnormal fear or anxiety about the effects of technology” is older than you may have thought: this word made its first appearance during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th century, after machines replaced weavers. Calling themselves “The Luddites” (a term we still use to describe a person opposed to technology or new ways of working today), a group of angry weavers took it upon themselves to destroy the weaving machines that “stole” their jobs.
If you’ve ever tried to get your grandmother to use a computer, you’ll be familiar with this phobia. Cyberphobia is defined as an unnatural fear of computers.
The UK Post Office first used this term (with the first two syllables short for “no mobile”) to describe the fear of being without your mobile phone. Nomophobia may also refer to a fear of losing your phone, a fear of losing mobile reception, or a fear of your phone running out of battery power.
Your friend who never answers when you call, but always does when you text them, probably suffers from a bit of telephonophobia. Although it may seem so, telephonophobia is not the fear of telephones themselves, but rather the fear of answering them when they ring. Sufferers report feeling scared of appearing foolish or being criticised when they converse on their phones.
Looking at your social media feed, you probably wouldn’t believe this phobia is real, but a great many people have a fear of taking selfies. Take note that this phobia does not apply to the average Joe that prefers having a photographer snap them – as with all phobias, selfiephobia is classed as an irrational fear of taking a photograph of oneself.