Psychological Effect Of Technology (Technophobia)


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Psychological Effect Of Technology (Technophobia)


Technology is taking over all aspects of life. Education, work and leisure are all becoming increasingly dependent on being able to interact with technology. But what of the academic or career prospects of those who do not want to interact with this technology? Before taking this class, I tried to avoid computers as much as possible. I didnt have any interest in cyberspace such as chatting, email, and gender swapping. Through this class, I had a chance to contact others through cyberspace. However, I still have a fear of computers. I decided that I want to know more about computers and cyberspace. I will first discuss cyberspace, then I will discuss about technophobia.

Its well known that people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldnt ordinarily say or do in the face-to-face world. The virtual world is quite different from the real world. People cant see a person in cyberspace. People cant see a persons facial expressions and body language. The sensory experience of encountering others in cyberspace-seeing, hearing, and combining seeing and hearing is limited. For the most part, people communicate through typed language. In cyberspace, people will probably never be able to physically interact with each other. There are no handshakes, pats on the back, hugs, or kisses.

The limited sensory experiences of cyberspace have some significant disadvantages- as well as some unique advantages - as compared to in-person encounters. Since communicating only with typed text, people have the option of being themselves, expressing only parts of their identity, assuming imaginative identities, or remaining completely anonymous. Anonymity has a disinhibiting effect that cuts two ways. Sometimes people use it to act out some unpleasant need or emotion, often by abusing other people. Anonymity also allows them to be honest and open about some personal issue that they could not discuss in a face-to-face encounter.

Sitting quiet and staring at the computer monitor can bring a person to an altered state of consciousness. Some people experience a blending of their mind with that of the other person. Some people experience a state of consciousness that resembles dreams. These altered and dream-like states of consciousness in cyberspace may account for why the Internet is so attractive for some people. It might also help explain some forms of computer and cyberspace addiction. In cyberspace, birds of a feather easily can flock together.

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Support groups devoted to helping people with their problems can be a very beneficial feature of cyberspace. For people with antisocial motivations, thats a very negative feature of cyberspace.

In most cases, everyone in cyberspace has an equal opportunity to voice his or her opinion. Everyone, regardless of status, wealth, race, gender, etc. starts off on a level playing field. Some people call this the net democracy. Although ones status in the outside world ultimately will have some impact on ones life in cyberspace, there is some truth to this net democracy ideal.

Now, I want to write about technophobia, which is a resistance to talking about computers or even thinking about computers. Although technology is taking over all aspects of life, there are up to half of the population is technophobic, possessing negative opinions about, or having anxiety towards, information technology such as personal computers. I found a study the book, Technophobia (Mark J. Brosnan). Thirty-seven per cent of the general public report regularly using a personal computer, a far higher percentage than mobile phones, electronic organizers, pagers, modems, etc. (MORI, 1996).

When the factors of anxiety and attitude, or, more specially, of computer anxiety and computer attitude, are combined, the concept of computer phobia indeed begins to emerge. Since I was a technophobic person, I want to know how this psychologically impact peoples life. There was an original assumption that technophobia would be a transitory phenomenon, common amongst older adults who had missed out upon technology in their education.

Raubs (1981) early study reported that older people were more anxious than younger people. Other research indicates that the over fifties are less anxious than the under thirties, suggesting that far from reducing anxiety, computer experience can increase anxiety levels (Brosnan pg. 11). However, Anderson (1981), Elder et al. (1987) and Igbaria and Parasuraman (1989) have all found that age has a positive effect upon computer anxiety. As the diffusion of technology throughout many aspects of life has exposed virtually everyone to computerization, the relationship between anxiety, age and experience has become less clear. The only clear relationship between age and computer anxiety would therefore appear to be with respect to ones age when first interacting with a computer.

I found a very interesting study, which shows the difference of psychological impact between male and female. Just as technophobia has been reported as affecting more females than males, computer addiction has been found to be almost exclusively a male phenomenon (Shotton, 1989). Brosnan (1995) identified that in a student population, male students first interaction with computers occurred significantly earlier than female students first interaction with computers. This is significant as Todman and Monaghan (1994) report that early use of computers is associated with more favourable quality of initial experience, which leads to lower anxiety and greater readiness to use computers.

A large number of studies found that females report higher levels of computer anxiety than males (it is maybe not true because of my English teacher!). A smaller number of studies report no sex differences in computer anxiety. For example, Anderson (1981) found that males and females did not differ in their levels of anxiety, either before or after a computer literacy course. Temple and Lips (1989) found male students to have taken more computer science course and to be more likely to want to choose it as their major than female students. In conclusion, the findings regarding gender differences in technophobia have not been consistent.

Conclusion Whether we refer to the second industrial revolution or the digital revolution there can be little doubt that computer technology will play an ever-increasing role within our domestic, leisure and work environments. For the technophobe, this can only mean an increase in the potential sources of anxiety. Through this research, I could find a few things. First, by studying technophobia the full extent of the phenomenon has become apparent. With surveys revealing technophobia in up to 50 per cent of many populations, feelings of computer-related anxiety cannot be dismissed or marginalized. Indeed the sheer numbers of technophobes provide the commercial motivation for continued user-friendliness in hardware and software design. The huge preponderance of technophobia can in itself be empowering, such that an individual does not have to internalize feelings to personal inadequacies. Second, I found that much research has highlighted that feelings are transitory and that sex differences in computer-related attainment can be eradicated when recasting the computer-based task as appropriate for females. The literature on sex differences has been used to emphasize the role of these influences. Technophobia is a legitimate response to technology. Technology is taking over all aspects of life. Education, work and leisure are all becoming increasingly dependent on being able to interact with technology. But what of the academic or career prospects of those who do not want to interact with this technology? Before taking this English 305 class, I tried to avoid computers as much as possible. I didnt have any interest in cyberspace such as chatting, email, and gender swapping. Through this class, I had a chance to contact others through cyberspace. However, I still have a fear of computers. I decided that I want to know more about computers and cyberspace. I will first discuss cyberspace, then I will discuss about technophobia.

Its well known that people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldnt ordinarily say or do in the face-to-face world. The virtual world is quite different from the real world. People cant see a person in cyberspace. People cant see a persons facial expressions and body language. The sensory experience of encountering others in cyberspace-seeing, hearing, and combining seeing and hearing is limited. For the most part, people communicate through typed language. In cyberspace, people will probably never be able to physically interact with each other. There are no handshakes, pats on the back, hugs, or kisses.

The limited sensory experiences of cyberspace have some significant disadvantages- as well as some unique advantages - as compared to in-person encounters. Since communicating only with typed text, people have the option of being themselves, expressing only parts of their identity, assuming imaginative identities, or remaining completely anonymous. Anonymity has a disinhibiting effect that cuts two ways. Sometimes people use it to act out some unpleasant need or emotion, often by abusing other people. Anonymity also allows them to be honest and open about some personal issue that they could not discuss in a face-to-face encounter.

Sitting quiet and staring at the computer monitor can bring a person to an altered state of consciousness. Some people experience a blending of their mind with that of the other person. Some people experience a state of consciousness that resembles dreams. These altered and dream-like states of consciousness in cyberspace may account for why the Internet is so attractive for some people. It might also help explain some forms of computer and cyberspace addiction. In cyberspace, birds of a feather easily can flock together. Support groups devoted to helping people with their problems can be a very beneficial feature of cyberspace. For people with antisocial motivations, thats a very negative feature of cyberspace.

In most cases, everyone in cyberspace has an equal opportunity to voice his or her opinion. Everyone, regardless of status, wealth, race, gender, etc. starts off on a level playing field. Some people call this the net democracy. Although ones status in the outside world ultimately will have some impact on ones life in cyberspace, there is some truth to this net democracy ideal.

Now, I want to write about technophobia, which is a resistance to talking about computers or even thinking about computers. Although technology is taking over all aspects of life, there are up to half of the population is technophobic, possessing negative opinions about, or having anxiety towards, information technology such as personal computers. I found a study the book, Technophobia (Mark J. Brosnan). Thirty-seven per cent of the general public report regularly using a personal computer, a far higher percentage than mobile phones, electronic organizers, pagers, modems, etc. (MORI, 1996).

When the factors of anxiety and attitude, or, more specially, of computer anxiety and computer attitude, are combined, the concept of computer phobia indeed begins to emerge. Since I was a technophobic person, I want to know how this psychologically impact peoples life. There was an original assumption that technophobia would be a transitory phenomenon, common amongst older adults who had missed out upon technology in their education.

Raubs (1981) early study reported that older people were more anxious than younger people. Other research indicates that the over fifties are less anxious than the under thirties, suggesting that far from reducing anxiety, computer experience can increase anxiety levels (Brosnan pg. 11). However, Anderson (1981), Elder et al. (1987) and Igbaria and Parasuraman (1989) have all found that age has a positive effect upon computer anxiety. As the diffusion of technology throughout many aspects of life has exposed virtually everyone to computerization, the relationship between anxiety, age and experience has become less clear. The only clear relationship between age and computer anxiety would therefore appear to be with respect to ones age when first interacting with a computer.

I found a very interesting study, which shows the difference of psychological impact between male and female. Just as technophobia has been reported as affecting more females than males, computer addiction has been found to be almost exclusively a male phenomenon (Shotton, 1989). Brosnan (1995) identified that in a student population, male students first interaction with computers occurred significantly earlier than female students first interaction with computers. This is significant as Todman and Monaghan (1994) report that early use of computers is associated with more favourable quality of initial experience, which leads to lower anxiety and greater readiness to use computers.

A large number of studies found that females report higher levels of computer anxiety than males (it is maybe not true because of my English teacher!). A smaller number of studies report no sex differences in computer anxiety. For example, Anderson (1981) found that males and females did not differ in their levels of anxiety, either before or after a computer literacy course. Temple and Lips (1989) found male students to have taken more computer science course and to be more likely to want to choose it as their major than female students. In conclusion, the findings regarding gender differences in technophobia have not been consistent.

Conclusion Whether we refer to the second industrial revolution or the digital revolution there can be little doubt that computer technology will play an ever-increasing role within our domestic, leisure and work environments. For the technophobe, this can only mean an increase in the potential sources of anxiety. Through this research, I could find a few things. First, by studying technophobia the full extent of the phenomenon has become apparent. With surveys revealing technophobia in up to 50 per cent of many populations, feelings of computer-related anxiety cannot be dismissed or marginalized. Indeed the sheer numbers of technophobes provide the commercial motivation for continued user-friendliness in hardware and software design. The huge preponderance of technophobia can in itself be empowering, such that an individual does not have to internalize feelings to personal inadequacies. Second, I found that much research has highlighted that feelings are transitory and that sex differences in computer-related attainment can be eradicated when recasting the computer-based task as appropriate for females. The literature on sex differences has been used to emphasize the role of these influences. Technophobia is a legitimate response to technology.


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