General Question

Khajuria9's avatar

Hey! Can you please assist me with something?

Asked by Khajuria9 (1777 points ) June 20th, 2014

One of my friends is so phobic of computers, computer languages, scripting, web, networking. Just the sight of computers gives her a fright.I have suggested her a couple of cool websites to start to learn but she would scream, she would rather get hallucinations when somebody makes a reference of computers. I remember she once fell to the ground at the time of presentations due to the fear of computers. Is it natural? I have never seen such a thing. If anyone has suffered this this, how did you get over. Please, let me know how would I make her feel safe about it. What would she be doing in order to get over that fear?
Any help in this regards would be duly appreciated. Thanks.

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21 Answers

Staalesen's avatar

Wow, that is a pretty bad case of technophobia..
Well, the fact that computers are everywhere now, and there IS going to be a lot more in the future, my guess would be to take it slow and try to adapt to them…

gailcalled's avatar

Screaming, hallucinations, falling to the ground?

This person needs therapy and possibly medication, this is so far beyond a normal reaction.

LostInParadise's avatar

Start by talking to her about her feelings toward computers. Does she truly believe that something awful is going to happen once the computer is turned on? If so, then she will need professional help. If she instead understands the irrationality of her fear then maybe some gradual desensitizing may help. Have her start by approaching a computer that is turned off. Once she is comfortable with that, turn the computer on without running anything and see if that is okay with her. The next step might be to edit a text file. Keep adding new things to do where she has complete control over what happens. You might be able to get to the point where you can have her create a simple script that displays a message box.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Does she watch and enjoy TV? There are many computers inside.
Does she use a calculator comfortably?
Does she use a cell phone?

Maybe she is such a noob she just doesn’t know where to begin and feels self-conscious . Start small and build.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That is bizarre. A computer is just a piece of equipment that does a lot of transactions fairly fast. Does she have any other equipment phobias? Maybe rip up an old obsolete computer with her and let her see what’s inside of one?

jerv's avatar

That fear of computers is unnatural, and, in this day and age, crippling. Many employers don’t accept/offer paper applications; if you want a job, you have to apply online…. and will probably have to search online to even find the opening. Many jobs require at least basic computer literacy; at the very least, enough to use word processors and e-mail.

Does she have an ATM/debit card? Use a gas pump? Drive a car built in the last 25 years? If so, she is using computers already. Of course, pointing that out may drive her catatonic…

Most computer users know nothing about scripting or programming. (It may be argued that many know nothing about anything!) If she thinks that such knowledge is required, you may wish to inform her that the Berlin Wall has fallen. Seriously, while that may have been required knowledge back in the days of DOS and Apple ][, computers have changed a lot in the last 25 years; the last time such knowledge was required to use a computer.

As for networking, if they ever use a phone, or if they have any friends (which, obviously, they have at least one) then they already know networking. They don’t need to know IPv6 or MAC addressing unless they want a career in IT.

But, by definition, phobias are irrational.

DipanshiK's avatar

How does she survive? There are computers everywhere now. Is she phobic of computers particularly or is she technophobic?
I suggest she needs to slowly adapt to them. She needs therapy that will definately help.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Is it natural? Of course not! She needs some therapy. Not to be insensitive (oh, who am I kidding?), but that sounds more obnoxious than anything else.

dina_didi's avatar

As any phobia known till nowadays, it is natural, but not logically explained. For instance, many people deal with arachnophobia (they fear spiders). It may occure as a simple fright or even a crisis (just like the one your friend has, as you mentioned above). The person itself should learn more about computers and how they actually work. Sometimes misinformation can make us fear things that are not dangerous at all. If she is not willing to deal with her fear by herself, she should visit an expert and discover the true root of her phobia. I don’t believe that she needs medication (without being an expert myself), however, I think that if she talks about it to an expert, he will be able to handle her situation properly. I hope this helps!

GloPro's avatar

I would just be glad it isn’t you and let it go. It sounds like a pain in the ass to take on.

Maybe you could google phobia therapists for her. Otherwise, woah. Unless she is asking for your help I would steer clear of that.

jca's avatar

Sounds bizarre to me, way too bizarre to be helped by an amateur. I agree with @gailcalled. Falling on the ground, screaming? Too much.

Coloma's avatar

Wow, just wow!
This is far beyond modest anxiety over learning something new.
I agree with @GloPro and @jca I wouldn’t touch this issue with this person with a 10 foot pole. We’re talkin’ thousands of hours of couch time with a therapist methinks. lol

Khajuria9's avatar

Haha….......thanks to all of you guys!

gailcalled's avatar

^^ If you are serious, this is no joking matter.

CWMcCall's avatar

Find out what her favorite hobby is and google it and show her the vast array of information that is at her fingertips by a click of a mouse.

gondwanalon's avatar

This does not surprise me. I have a friend who is afraid of flowers. if your friend can safely navigate the world without computers with the help of friends and family then I say just let her be.

jerv's avatar

@gondwanalon Two main differences there:

1) A fear of flowers makes sense. Those with certain allergies are actually in physical danger, whether from pollen or from bees that hang around flowers. I have yet to hear of anyone going into anaphylactic shock from being in the same room as a computer. There is no inherent danger.

2) One can be a functional member of society without being forced to deal with flowers. There are few occupations that require you to deal with them. Myself, even clocking into work requires me to use a PC, and the only way to apply there is through their website.

gondwanalon's avatar

@jerv Does fear of flowers make sense when there is no allergies involved?

My friend and coworker (“Sue” for the last 20 years) has no allergies to flowers. Sue tells me that just their appearance is more than just disturbing, they are sickening and grotesque to her. When normal people see a flower they think “beautiful”. When Sue sees a flower she thinks of it as a hideous monster. I’m no psychologist but I wonder if Sue’s condition is perhaps more than a phobia and more like a neurosis because of the severity of her symptoms. I kid you not Sue just comes unglued when she see flowers. We can not have flowers anywhere or anytime in the lab where I work. Like computers flowers are just about everywhere you go and they do have a very powerful negative effect on her.

Grant you a phobia to computers has the potential to be more debilitating especially as they are everywhere like you indicate. Perhaps the woman with the computer phobia fears that one day soon the computers will take over the world or some crazy notion. Perhaps she is scared by computer lingo that she hears constantly and has no idea what it’s about and she feels out of control. But it would be interesting to talk to her to get an idea of how she thinks or fails to think.

jerv's avatar

@gondwanalon It may be an association. As someone who used to be deathly allergic to bees, there was a time during my childhood where I associated flowers with burning pain, choking, and an ER visit.

It’s possible that she grew up with parents that hated computers, or that she only sees the negative side of computing; credit card fraud,virtual bank robberies, cyber-terrorism,Skynet/Matrix-like enslavement of humanity, etcetera, instead of seeing a computer as merely a tool that is only capable of doing what people make it do (including fail if it’s not designed/operated correctly).

Personally, I don’t entirely trust computers for that reason; there are enough people out there that are either incompetent and/or malicious that I see computers as a potential way for people to screw me over… just like legal paperwork. But I don’t blame the computer as that mistrust is solidly based on my feelings about humanity. Considering what mistyping a number into the equipment I operate at work can do, I feel that caution is warranted. But there’s a point where prudence crosses the line to paranoia; I trust my equipment to do what it’s told, and make damn sure I tell it to do what I want instead of assuming it’s actually out to get me.

RocketGuy's avatar

She’s probably afraid she might wipe out the computer, with one wrong move. Show her what happens when you close a program without saving, see how she handles that.

jca's avatar

@RocketGuy: It seems like, the way she is described, just getting anywhere near a computer sends her into fits of anxiety. Very weird. I’m no psychiatrist but it sounds like she’s just plain nuts.

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