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.
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.