Scared of spiders? There’s an app for that. It’s called Phonia Free and the app is designed to lessen spider phobia through a thing called “systematic desensitization” which aims to cure those haunted with arachnophobia by gradually helping to face their fear.
Mild arachnophobia is common, if not expected, in our modern society. Celebrities are no exception, Jennifer Lawrence admitted to being scared to death of the creatures. That phobia was kept under wraps pretty well until she broke down crying on set during the film of the most recent Hunger Games film. Even miniatures of the creepy crawlers can send an adult running… or frozen in fear depending on the severity of the phobia. More serious cases are less frequent, but plenty real. For example, there’s the case of James Payn who was a perfectly sane British hobo before his nightmarish encounter with tarantulas. Being locked in a banana crate during a train ride seems harmless enough. But cue the dark of night and then emerge a swarm of long-legged hairy crawlers and what do you get? One nasty tarantula bite and a lifetime of insanity.
Perhaps Payn’s is an exception to the norm. A phobia of spiders doesn’t require traumatic events like being locked in a dark freight train crate with tarantulas, spiders are simply scary. Eight legs, a bunch of eyes, fangs that inject venom to liquify their prey, need I say more? On top of that, media only helps to justify the phobia by making use of the entertainingly intense fear. And I can’t say that I’ve never used the fake spider prank, so we’re all guilty of making life for those afflicted by the phobia very difficult. If you have friends with the phobia, tell them to download the Phobia Free app. It exposes users to their phobia, “You start off playing games with cartoon-like spiders and as you progress through the app, through the game, they get more and more real until you face an augmented reality tarantula,” reported co-founder Dr. Andrés Fonseca. “Traditional treatment used to use a real spider. You would get the person to come closer and closer and then touch it – it turns out technology is just as good.”
Other phobia-fighting apps are also being revealed, like the Flight App VALK which uses education to relax panicky flyers. The VALK foundation’s app informs those with flight phobia about aerodynamics, plane safety and turbulence to familiarized them with air travel and with the noises of air travel. And yes, the app can be used while in ‘flight mode’.