Are you afraid of technology?

Topic difficulty: Beginners

Can you imagine not knowing how to use a book, a pen or a telephone? These are all technologies and tools that we use without a second thought.

technophobe

People are sometimes nervous when they encounter new technology. Yet, almost everything we use today was at some point new and possibly intimidating to many first time users.

Why do we fear using new technology and resist its emergence?  Are they are too complex to understand or reserved for a younger generation?  More often than not, technology is simpler and easier to use than we initially think and we build pre-conceptions in our minds of what to expect.

We've made a list of 8 tips and facts to help you break down that mental barrier:

  1. Banish thoughts like "I'm no good with technology"
    Is it the fear of the unknown? If you're mindset isn't in it, you're already setting yourself up to a technophobic meltdown. Begin by knowing there is a lot to learn and that you can't absorb everything in one go. Take baby steps. You'll find that when you master one concept, the feeling and excitement of accomplishment will encourage you to take on the next challenge.
  2. Give yourself time
    Acknowledge a fear of failure is okay.  Allow yourself time to invest in using computers and gadgets.  Technology these days are very "fool proof".  Experiment... play a game... draw a picture... send a message... take a photo... develop your technical dexterity!  Afraid of messing something up? There's always the undo button (or Ctrl + Z on the keyboard on a computer) that takes you back a step and erases mistakes.  Learn to take risks.
  3. Learn the basics of before buying technology
    Like it or not, it helps to know the basics of how computers work before making a major purchasing decision.  Search for reviews online on the particular thing you wish to use or buy.  You'll feel more empowered.
  4. Search smart
    When web searching in Google or Yahoo, you'll get back better results if you start using quotes.  For example, typing: "best Internet tips" instead of: best Internet tips searches that exact phrase.  The latter may give you irrelevant results. If you want to make sure a word ISN'T used, type it in with a minus sign (without a space in between) like so: "best Internet tips" -browsers to search for articles without a reference to the word browsers.
  5. Read online articles on technology regularly
    You're already reading this one. Slashdot is another good resource for keeping up to date with the latest IT developments.  Some topics may be a bit advanced to understand at first, but it is important to get a general idea of what is out there.
  6. Take confusing jargon with a pinch of salt
    iPhone, browser, host, URL, USB, memory, router... try not to take it personally when you don't understand jargon that you hear or read.  What would the sentence "do you want phone me?" mean to you if you didn't know what a "telephone" was or meant? Remember, Google is always your friend.  Keep a notebook with alist of new things you hear or read about and search for them online.  A great list of terms and explanations can be found here and here.  It's a start.
  7. Capturing your screen
    Has anyone ever asked you to take a "screen shot" to help you fix a computer problem and didn't know how?  It basically a snapshot, or picture of your current screen and lets you share what you’re looking at on your computer with someone who is not in same room as you.  On Windows, pressing the "PntSc" or "print screen" button on your keyboard copies the image to your clipboard.  You can then paste it into a graphics program like Paint or Photoshop where you can save it as a picture.  There are also ways of only copying a window at at a time instead of the whole screen.  Find out other ways of capturing screen images on both Windows and on a Mac by reading this article.
  8. Update your browser
    Don't know what a browser is?  Find out.  It is important that you know!  The more up to date your browser is, the better your Internet experience and the less hassles you'll have with security and websites that don't work.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you on your way from technophobe to technophile!  Remember, technology is there to make your life easier.  Know that it will be a constant learning affair and to have fun learning.

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