Are you a technophobe? These are the signs you might be a sufferer

Although Blondie’s famous song says ‘Call Me!’, she might just have to give us a minute to work out which button to press! 

If someone handed you an Apple laptop, a new microwave or a fancy smart phone, would you know how to use it? Or would the sheer number of fancy buttons send you into a panic? If that’s the case, don’t worry! You’re not alone. Research has found that more Brits are ‘baffled by the buttons’ than you might think...

Related: What are the nation’s biggest concerns around smart technology in the home?

A recent survey by Centrica Hive revealed that Britons are being forced to guess their way through using their tech, with one third saying it’s too complicated and a further one fifth revealing they’ll have forgotten the written instructions.

Here is a list of common signs you might be a bit of a technophobe – how many ring a bell with you?

1. You only use your smart speaker for listening to music

amazon echo smart speaker in kitchen

(Image credit: Amazon)

17 per cent of those asked were guilty of this. But did you know that Amazon's Alexa (above) and Google Home can do everything from ordering pizza to guided meditation?

2. You set the thermostat by hand, not using a timer

hive active heating 2 on wall

(Image credit: Hive)

Six in 10 of those surveyed are making life harder for themselves by manually changing their heating preferences as they don’t know how to set the timer on their home thermostat. However, new thermostats by Hive and Nest can be programmed from your smartphone – or you can just ask Alexa or google to turn the heating up or down. Simples!

Related: Got Hive? Now you can spy on your home with this smart new Hive View camera

3. You didn’t know your microwave has pre-programmes

microwave above sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson)

Nearly a third of people don’t. But yours may well have cooking functions for the perfect jacket potatoes, rice, popcorn and more.

4. You throw away the instructions and forget how to use the basic settings

potted plant paper calculator and laptop on table

(Image credit: TBC)

Three in four make this mistake, and a further eight in ten use a ‘trial and error’ approach because they don’t have the time to read the manual. But keeping instructions in a safe place could prove very useful. or you could always download them online.

5. You’ve been amazed when someone has shown you a new ‘trick’ or setting

mobile phones

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Nearly three quarters of people are shown the wonders of technology on smartphones, TV sets or even their ovens by friends and family.

Related: Kitchen appliances of the future – which would you most love in your home?

A lot of our household items are so handy for modern life – where would we be without our dishwashers, irons and washing machines?! We dread to think. But if there were any way for these machines to be a bit more ‘user friendly’, we’d be very grateful. Despite half the nation owning a piece of modern technology, there is an equal number of us out there that struggle to use them. Luckily, Tom Guy, Global Product Director at Centrica Hive, thinks life could be getting easier for technophobes.

'Our research shows that many Brits don't have the time or patience to get to grips with tech,' he says. 'But technology needn’t be scary, especially with the number of innovative smart devices out there now. The latest thermostats, cameras and sensors are created to make life easier and give peace of mind.'

Do you agree that things are getting easier, or do you dream of reverting to a life without gadgets?

Written by Lauren Goody

Ginevra Benedetti
Deputy Editor (Print)

Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.