Technophobia is an overwhelming fear of technology. People with technophobia may fear computers, cell phones or the powers of artificial intelligence. It is most common in older adults and people who are generally anxious about the future. Media portayals of “technology gone wrong” may also contribute to technophobia.
Technophobia is an extreme fear of technology. People with technophobia may fear the power of artificial intelligence, robots or computers.
Technophobia is more than resistance to learning new technology. Rather, people with the condition may obsess over technology. Or, they may go to great lengths to avoid incorporating technology into their lives.
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Technophobia is not a clinical diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Still, as technology has expanded rapidly in recent years, some clinicians treat technophobia like a specific phobia. Specific phobias are irrational fears of a particular situation, object, animal or interaction. The fear isn’t in proportion to the actual danger.
Anyone can feel afraid of or reluctant to use new technology. When the fear interferes with your life, it may be technophobia.
Adults and especially seniors are more likely to develop technophobia. You are also more likely to develop technophobia if you have another mental health diagnosis, such as an anxiety disorder.
Experts don’t know exactly how many people have technophobia. But it's more common in older adults.
Many people refuse to use technology as they age. One study found that the portion of older adults who use the Internet includes:
There isn’t a single cause of technophobia. Factors that can contribute to technophobia include:
Someone with technophobia might feel preoccupied with thoughts of being forced to use technology. They may:
Sometimes, people with specific phobias experience extreme physical anxiety symptoms. These signs may include:
Although technophobia isn't a formal diagnosis, your healthcare provider may treat it like a specific phobia. Your healthcare provider may ask questions to determine whether the fear of technology interferes with your life. They may ask:
Technophobia treatment may be similar to treatment for other specific phobias. These treatments can help:
There is no guaranteed way to prevent technophobia. It’s common to resist adapting to technology, especially as you get older.
If you are naturally anxious or have a mental health diagnosis, seek treatment. Getting treatment for underlying conditions may reduce your risk of developing technophobia.
Many people can overcome technophobia with treatment. Dealing with technophobia is crucial. Refusing to adapt to changing technology can reduce the quality of life, mental health and independence, especially in older adults.
Most people get frustrated with technology now and then. But that frustration doesn’t need to prevent you from using technology. To reduce fear and make technology transitions smoother, you can:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Technophobia is the irrational fear of technology. Although it's not a clinical diagnosis, some people think of it as a specific phobia. People with technophobia may feel irrationally afraid of computers, robots or artificial intelligence. This fear keeps them from adapting to new technology, such as using a mobile phone or computer. It may also keep them from using ATMs or paying with credit cards. With treatment, many people can overcome technophobia.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/20/2022.
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