The very word ‘computer’ scares most consumers, so we deliberately avoid using it as much as possible.
(The president of Mattel Corporation’s electronic division quoted in Rosen, Sears and Weil, 1987)
Technology is everywhere. It is ubiquitous in work, home and leisure environments. Obviously this is not a new state of affairs, with cars and telephones (etc.) having been around for a relatively long while. This book deals with the emergence of what is sometimes termed ‘new technology’, the most frequent instance of which is the personal (desktop) computer (PC). The avoidance of new technologies by certain individuals has led to suggestions of the existence of a ‘technophobia’ or ‘computerphobia’ (terms which can be used interchangeably). When the factors of anxiety and attitude, or, more specifically, of computer anxiety and computer attitude, are combined, the concept of computerphobia indeed begins to emerge. Resistance to new technology in the form of avoidance of computers has been well documented within the literature; the term ‘technophobe’ or ‘computerphobe’ is used to describe individuals who resist using computers when given the opportunity to use them. Whilst not a phobia in the classic sense (such as agoraphobia), there are many similarities in aetiology and ‘treatment’ which warrant the term ‘technophobia’. Technophobia does not involve fears such as job displacement or concerns over the effects of screen radiation, rather a negative affective and attitudinal response to technology which the technophobe acknowledges to be irrational. It is estimated that, on average, between one quarter and one third of the population of the