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Curing Computer Phobia: 10 Easy Steps

There are many people, especially older adults who fear computers.  There are people who exhibit signs of anxiety, intimidation, or general discomfort.  As my dad says,  “I do not understand those damn things”.  My dad does not even use an ATM machine.

There are two major phases to overcoming computer phobia. 

  • The first is the fear of the computer itself.
  • The second is that people are afraid of computer terminology.

Let’s go into a little detail here.  If you fear the computer that is because you are not comfortable using it, or familiar with how to use it.  Some people fear that they’ll “blow up” the PC just by touching the wrong key.  But the computer is a lot tougher than you think, especially today where the operating system, applications and hardware are customer oriented, unlike the old days.  Unless you spill beer or drinks on it, or use your CD-ROM player as a cup holder (true observation once), you are not going to cause any harm.  As for losing important data, just learn the save command on your software application and save frequently. Even if you make a mistake right now, you still have a good copy on the PC.

Computer terminology makes many people afraid.  Let’s be honest here.  Cars make me afraid.  Yes, I know some of the “key” words, but when a mechanic starts with the car mechanic lingo, do I care?  No, I have no idea what they are talking about.  Do I need it, or can I live without it?  I just want the car to take me from place to place with minimal inconvenience. 

When a computer phobic hears someone say My HP Presario has a Pentium 4 with many gigabytes of RAM:PlaceName> and is faster then Joe’s PC, etc. they’re likely to run screaming from the room.  But the translation is fairly simple:  My HP computer is fast and can store a lot of information.  Furthermore, you don’t have to know much terminology to use a computer, just like you don’t have to know all the technical details of a car’s engine to drive.

Here are the ten steps:

  1. Relax!  You’ve nearly finished step one by reading this article.

  2. Pick up a copy of the e-book “Computers 101:  Questions You Were Afraid to Ask”.  It explains basic computer terms and concepts for beginners and also tells you where you can buy a new PC and where to go for help.
  3. If you’ve never used a computer before, find a friend or your kid to show you.  Have them show you the basics of turning on the PC, writing a short note, printing it and saving it.  Doing this will increase your PC knowledge by 40%, because what you do for one program applies to the other programs.
  4. There are many places to get CD tutorials.  There are self paced CDs that enable you to learn how to use a PC.  One of the better places is at
  5. Sign up for an adult night class at a local school or college.  These classes are pretty good to further understand the PC.
  6. Try learning something new every time that you use the PC.  For example if you were using Microsoft Word, try creating columns.  When you are on a blank page press the F1 key.  This is the help key.  A blank box will appear with the word search above it.  Type in the word “columns”.  There will be topics listed as well as step by step on how to do it.
  7. Experiment with the PC.  You will not break it.  Go through the software applications menus.  See what they do.
  8. Maybe your fear is with the mouse.  Over 80% of the functionality of a software application can be done using the keyboard.  In my e-book called “Computers 101:  The Questions You Were Afraid to Ask!”, there is a whole section on how to use the keyboard to do tasks, thus eliminating the mouse.  The only real time that I use a mouse is to play games.  Keyboards are a lot faster and easier to most people.
  9. Do not be afraid to ask questions.  If you do not understand something, ask your kid, or someone else’s kid.  Send an e-mail with your questions to Dave.  All questions will be answered within seven days.
  10. The more experience you have with the computer, the more you will know, thus eliminating your computer phobia.  Congratulations on taking the first step to becoming confident with your PC by reading this article.

© Copyright - February, 2004:

John R. Gontowicz:p