A research study has revealed a clear generational shift when it comes to the rise of seemingly-irrational phobias. There has been a sharp increase in these particular phobias amongst the younger generation (18-24 year olds), including:

  • The fear of having your photo taken and posted online (Scopophobia)
  • The fear of politicians (Politicophobia)
  • Fear of being without your mobile phone (Nomophobia)

The research looked into the fears and phobias in the UK in 2017, for the launch of The Evil Within 2 – a third-person survival horror video game, developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks – that could quite easily make grown men and women whimper in terror.

Professor in Psychology, Prof Jon May from the Faculty of Health & Human Sciences at Plymouth University, who helped to contextualise the research findings, says, “We’re seeing that young people today are exposed to more stressful scenes in the media than ever before, especially online and in social media. With their lives being lived online, they can feel that Big Brother is watching, and that they’re never truly alone, with a growing sense of anxiety and heightened sensitivity about their self-image. This has manifested itself in a growing number of young people with irrational fears, and even the development of new sources of anxiety that never existed before.”

  • A worrying 22 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds say they suffer from Scopophobia while the ability to be in almost constant touch with friends has led to 33 per cent dreading the idea of actually being alone (Monophobia)
  • One in eight young adults confess to panicking at the thought of being without their phone while 27 per cent find themselves paralysed by the fear of failure (Karkorrhaphobia)
  • Those aged 18 to 24 reported fear of cheese (2 per cent), rain (2 per cent), being constipated (3 per cent), being proven wrong (8 per cent) and being judged by society (14 per cent)

“On the other side of the coin, people actually need to experience thrills and frights from time to time, we actively seek them out. Scary theme park rides and social customs like Halloween have a real purpose in our lives, helping us realise how nice it is to be safe and protected the rest of the time. Videogames have become increasingly realistic in recent years, so people who play them most and who are always exposed to social media have become jaded and harder to scare than previous generations. They can expose themselves to terrifying experiences online and even in virtual reality without needing to hold back for safety. Games like The Evil Within 2, go beyond the norm and can give even this generation the shock and fear that they crave.”With horror films and survival games proving ever more popular, it wasn’t surprising that the research found nearly half a million Brits genuinely enjoy being scared. In fact, a quarter of 18-24 year olds (25%) said they like the thrill of being scared, in contrast to the older generations, with only 9% of 55+ year olds feeling the same. Additionally, 58% of 18-24 year olds enjoy watching scary movies and video games compared to 31% of 55+ year olds.

“8 out of 10 people have some sort of phobia, which is an incredibly high number to be suffering a persistent fear that can significantly influence how they go about their everyday life,” explains Sarah Seaby, EU Marketing & PR Director, Bethesda Softworks. “The most interesting area in the research uncovered fears that didn’t exist in previous generations – such as Scopophobia – the fear of having your photo taken and posted online. For companies in the entertainment business like us, this gives us a whole new toolkit of triggers to tap into to cater for the 25% of people aged under 22 who love and actively seek out being scared. We have to constantly re-evaluate and evolve what is going to create that climate of fear. What is truly scary for today’s gamer is the tension, the mysterious or unknown, and the elements of suspense. For them, it’s not all about jump-scares, and is just as much about what you can’t see, as what you can.”

The top ten fastest rising unusual phobias for 18-24 year olds include:
Nomophobia (fear of being without your mobile)

Scopophobia (fear of having your photo taken and posted online)

Coulrophobia (fear of clowns)
Pragmatophobia (fear of reality)

Editiovultaphobia (fear of Facebook)

Politicophobia (fear of politicians)

Pteronophobia (fear of being tickled)

Hypnophobia (fear of falling asleep)

Gamophobia (fear of marriage)

Porphyrophobia (fear of the colour purple)

The top ten more common phobias for 18-24 year olds include:

Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) – 33%

Glossophobia (fear of public speaking) – 25%
Claustrophobia (fear of small spaces) – 24%
Acrophobia (fear of heights) – 24%

Thanatophobia (fear of death) – 16%

Trypanophobia (fear of injections/needles) – 14%

Xenophobia (fear of the unknown – 13%
Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) – 11%
Nyctophobia (fear of dark) – 10%
Mysophobia (fear of germs) – 10%

The Evil Within 2 launches worldwide on Friday the 13th, October 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more information about the game, visit www.TheEvilWithin.com