Whether for work or entertainment purposes, there is no denying that our dependence on technology is mentally unhealthy. Not only does social media increase our anxiety levels, but according to a Harvard Health study, the blue light emitted from electronic devices “provides harmful effects to our brain structure and performance such as memory loss and addiction”.In addition, new fears or phobias are emerging in humans thanks to their abundance in the real world. Here are a few examples of these phobias as described by psychologist Shoshana Wodinsky:
Nomophobia: Before we discuss the fear of technology, let’s discuss the fear of no technology. Wodinsky defines Nomophobia as “the fear of being without mobile access for a prolonged period of time”. A study conducted by a UK research firm found by 53% of people admitted to feeling agitated or nervous when their phone signal went out or their phone wasn’t in their possession. While technology was limited then, the rapid increase in these products makes technology an accepted norm, which may be the cause of Nomohphobia. Effects of this disorder, as described by Wodinsky, include depression, sleeping disorders, and lack of self-esteem.
Scopophobia: If you constantly feel uncomfortable because you think you’re being watched, you may have fallen victim to the effects of Scopophobia. Scopophobia literally translates to “the fear of being watched”. This disorder has been accentuated by the advent of security cameras and other devices built into buildings and machinery. Scopophobia has a strong relation to agoraphobia which is the fear of leaving our house (perhaps in fear that we will be watched) “Although computed security needs to be taken seriously, it might become excessive for some people leading to avoidance of [their] computer”, says Wodinsky.
Radiophobia: Radiophobia, the fear of radio waves and radiation, began in the 1900s with the invention of X-rays. The ability to use radiation and radio waves to view a person’s skeleton was chilling at the time, especially with how unreliable technology was then. However, with the trending belief in 5G tech, the use of radio waves and radiation has exponentially increased as well as radiophobia. This is because despite what physicians convince us to believe, people do not believe these methods of technology are safe. Cancer and COVID may be a risk to one’s health, but radio waves and radiation are an even bigger risk
Phobophobia: They say that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and phobophobia says it best. Wodinsky defines phobophobia as “literally the fear of developing more phobias than the phobias you already have”. With all of the information available at our fingertips, new phobias can develop which we never even heard of before. Perhaps you have gained Nomophobia, Scopophobia, and Radiophobia simply through reading this article! Plenty of websites list dangers associated with technology as, as our curiosity rises, we become more dubious and fearful of the world we are living in. Phobophobia makes us feel unconfident about life and decreases our social levels.
From security cameras to the use of the Internet, there is no escaping the use and presence of technology. While some of these phobias have not yet been published in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Disorders, experts continue to study various phobias through experiments and research. Through these experiments and research, these experts hope to, as Wodinsky states, “prevent specific breeds of anxiety disorders that are enough to keep a person from living an unimpeded life”.