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Technophobia: Is it Getting to You Yet?

doing emailI remember when e-mail started to become one of the primary ways people communicated with one another, and my mother refused to even consider learning how to use it. Sure, she was getting older, but she still had a very sharp, highly intelligent mind. I wondered why in the world she wouldn’t embrace this new, obviously more convenient way of communicating.

She wouldn’t even consider looking at a totally simplistic device that had but one function: sending and receiving e-mail. She was also a rather stubborn person so I thought perhaps that was the problem. But, upon more reflection and observation, I realized that she simply was fearful, almost phobic about anything that even remotely seemed “technological” in nature. I also concluded that she wasn’t going to listen to me and that she would spend the remainder of her days on this earth avoidant of and resistant to new technologies. Oh well, I figured that was her right, even though I thought she should probably find a way to deal with her fear.

Good thing I didn’t fear technology. Mind you, I’m no whiz at computers and such, yet they’ve never particularly intimidated me. But you know what? In recent years I’ve started to feel overwhelmed by technology myself. And my wife (and coauthor of the blog Anxiety and OCD Exposed) feels similarly.

What’s happened? Somehow we have found that passwords permeate almost everywhere we go and everything we do on the Internet. And of course, you’re supposed to change them from time to time. And different sites have widely varying requirements for passwords. Some want special symbols; others won’t let you use special symbols. Some are case sensitive; others aren’t. We’re probably using 50 different passwords at this point. And when a site locks you out, sometimes the process of recovering and changing your password can be surprisingly daunting. Passwords are starting to feel like a growing army of termites slowly eating away at our souls. But you can’t just douse them with spray and be rid of them. Oh no, you must continue to use them.

And then there’s the formidable learning curve involved with e-records. Psychologists and most other health care providers now are being urged to convert their old paper files into e-records, along with e-billing, e-filing, e-accounting, e-messaging, and such. No small task.

Oh, and we just got new iPads and iPhones. And just exactly how does the iCloud work?? I think I’m beginning to appreciate my mother’s approach to technology.

Nonetheless, we plan to tackle our technophobia—one step at a time. We will get a system for our passwords and we’ll tackle the e-records bit by bit. We won’t even let the iCloud rain on our parade. Just like all anxieties, we can conquer our emerging technophobia by gradually exposing ourselves to what we fear. More updates later.

Photo by wtec, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Technophobia: Is it Getting to You Yet?

Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D.

Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and a Founding Fellow in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He is also a member of the faculty at Fielding Graduate University. He specializes in the treatment of adolescents and adults with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, anger, depression, and personality disorders. Dr. Elliott is coauthor of: Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies (2nd Ed), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder For Dummies, Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies, Anxiety and Depression Workbook For Dummies, Depression For Dummies, Why Can't I Get What I Want?, Why Can’t I Be the Parent I Want to Be?, and Hollow Kids: Recapturing the Soul of a Generation Lost to the Self-Esteem Myth. His website is:

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APA Reference
Elliott, C. (2011). Technophobia: Is it Getting to You Yet?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Oct 2011
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