Modern fears are giving people the creeps

4 June 2018        

Category: Fundraising

image of hand holding tarantula

Modern fears are creeping into people’s lives, leaving them scared stiff. According to the new figures with half (50%) of UK residents admitting they would sooner live with clowns than be without phone signal for a month.

We released these new statistics to encourage people to sign up to Face a Fear this June and combat their biggest phobia by the end of July.  Our research found that a fear of spiders (28%) was still the nation’s biggest phobia, closely followed by a fear of heights (28%) and being scared of snakes (20%).

Modern Fears

However, more modern day phobias are hot on their heels with nearly one in five people petrified about their phone running out of battery (19%) or missing a flight (18%) and nearly one in six worried about having no Wi-Fi access (15%) or sending a text to the wrong person (15%).

In total, over half (55%) of UK residents suffer from at least one modern fear – a peril of 21st century living.

Traditional vs Modern fears

When it comes to which type of fear the nation would rather face, UK residents are split, with half (51%) of people preferring to encounter more traditional horrors and the other half preferring to brave 21st century fears;

When given specific choices: 

  • A fifth of people (20%) admitted they would rather be locked in a room full of creepy crawlies for an hour than have no likes on their social media posts for an entire year.
  • Despite spiders being the nation’s biggest fear, around half (45%) of people revealed they would still rather hold a spider for an hour than have no WIFI for a month. 
  • A fifth of UK residents confessed they are scared of bees and wasps (18%) and confined spaces (15%). But just as many people fear their phone running out of battery (19%) and missing a flight (18%). 


The survey also reveals that modern day fears hold the biggest grip on Millennials (16-24 year-olds) with many saying they have negatively impacted their day-to-day lives. A fifth of young people lost friends (18%) and had a relationship left in tatters (18%) as a result of their modern day phobias, such as a lack of phone battery, no access to WIFI, or sending a text to the wrong person.

Men vs Women

It also seems women are more likely to be affected by modern fears. Women are twice as likely as men to be fearful of their phone running out of battery (26% vs 12% of men) and sending a text to the wrong person (20% vs 9% of men). 

Face a Fear

But with seven in ten (70%) people admitting that they want to overcome their fears, the BHF is urging the nation to tackle their fears head on this July by signing up to Face a Fear and raising money for vital heart research. 

Adrian Adams, Head of Mass Participation at the BHF, said: “Whether snakes and spiders make you squirm or no phone signal and lack of WIFI gives you nightmares – take a small step, or giant leap, to conquering your biggest fear. Whatever the nail-biting experience is, by signing up to Face a Fear, you will be helping to beat heartbreak forever. Each year, over 150,000 lives are cut short by heart and circulatory disease – that’s one death every three minutes, so we urgently need your support to keep more hearts beating.” 

Dr Elena Touroni, Clinic Director at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, added: “These statistics not only highlight that many people have phobias, but they can have a real impact on your day-to-day lives. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Face a Fear is the perfect way to join thousands of like-minded people for a fantastic cause. The BHF will be there to support you every step of the way and at the end of it, you’ll feel on top of the world.”

Sign up for Face a Fear