MET:Technology-related Anxiety

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== Technology-related Anxiety == Karina Zanrosso ETEC 510-65A

Technology-related anxiety occurs when a person feels fear and anxiety due to the interaction with a computer or any technology source that does not actually present a real threat.

File:Angrylaptop 1.jpg
Technology-related Anxiety[1]


There are two types of technology-related anxiety:

The first type is known as “technostress” (Fiehn, 2010, p.255)[2] and “information technology rage” (Fiehn, 2010, p.255)[2], which occurs in individuals when newly adapted or introduced technology causes frustration and tension because of difficulty or incompetence. This phenomenon results in a decrease in technology use or an increase in anxiety when using it. According to Craig Brod (1984), it can also be described as a “modern disease of adaptation caused by an inability to cope with new computer technologies in a healthy manner” (as cited in Fiehn, 2010)[2].

The second type is known as “disconnectivity anxiety” which, according to Dr. Jim Taylor (2009)[3], is “a persistent and unpleasant condition characterized by worry and unease caused by periods of technological disconnection from others.” Technology has created a multitude of possibilities for people to connect with one another, and it seems like the way we connect to technology affects our self-esteem and how we see ourselves. Our identities, especially our students', have extended into the World Wide Web with mediums like Facebook[4], Flickr[5], Twitter[6], and Online Blogging[7], like Blogger. Users tend to feel a sense of instant gratification which they soon feel a void from if they are separated from technology and do not receive instant updates. As well, users develop a new relationship formed with one another that is instant and connects automatically from anywhere and anytime; as a result, users “not being able to access those relationships creates doubt and insecurity” (Taylor, 2009)[2]. With this type of anxiety, the withdrawal symptoms occur when the user is disconnected temporarily or for a longer duration.

Levels of Technology-related Anxiety

There are three-levels of Technology-related Anxiety[8]:

1. Anxious Technophobe: The user shows the classic signs of an anxiety reaction when using technology, like sweaty palms, heart palpitations, and headaches.

2. Cognitive Technophobe: The user shows a calm and relaxed exterior, but feels anxiety within

3. Uncomfortable User: The user may be feel slightly anxious, but does not need counselling

Anxiety Symptoms

There are many different symptoms found in students and educators with technology-related anxiety. Examples of physical and mental symptoms that one may experience (Folk,2010)[9]:


  • blanching (face is pale/loss of colour)
  • blushing, flushed skin
  • body temperature increase and decrease
  • burning sensation on the face, neck, ears, scalp, or shoulders
  • chest pain
  • chronic fatigue, exhaustion
  • dizziness, lightheaded
  • heart palpitation, racing heart
  • excess energy, can't relax


  • difficulty concentrating
  • short-term memory loss
  • difficulty thinking, speaking, forming thoughts
  • fear of losing control, impending doom
  • frequent feeling of being overwhelmed, or that there is too much to handle
  • short-term learning impairment[10]
  • have difficulty learning new information
  • underlying anxiety, apprehension, or fear

Educational Research Studies

In 2001, Annalyse Callahan Raub's research showed that independent variables that significantly affected computer anxiety include: gender, level of computer experience, college major, math anxiety, and trait anxiety. As well, computer users' attitudes can be culturally-learned. If a user takes a programming course, it can help to reduce computer usage anxiety. This extra help from the course did not help to decrease users' fears with computer's negative impact on society, and it did not increase users' appreciation of computer technology. [11]

In 1994, Jennifer L. Dyck and Janan Al-Awar Smither's research showed that many older technology users that have not grown up with technology readily available had a different technology experience compared to younger technology users. Surprisingly, older adults (55 years and over) were less computer anxious, had a more positive attitude toward computers, and also had more of a liking toward computers than younger adults (30 years and under). However, older adults had less computer confidence. For both younger and older adults, more computer experience resulted in lower levels of computer anxiety, and an increase of positive attitudes toward computers. There was a possibility that no gender differences were found for computer anxiety. [12]

Solutions for Intervention

One of the goals of technology is to simplify our lives as educators and for our students, and to make new opportunities available; it is meant to be a positive experience for all users. However, if technology-related anxiety is present, the technological experience becomes negative and undesirable. According to Fiehn (2010)[2] , there are many ways to help alleviate this anxiety:

  • prepare to invest time in order to gain all the benefits of technology
  • lower your expectations as you should expect to come across obstacles in order to reach your goal
  • ask for help when needed
  • once you learn a new skill, teach it to someone (scaffolding)
  • balance your priorities and do not be pressured by the demands of technology
  • understand that some things are better done with low technology methods
  • practise uni-tasking, rather than multi-tasking
  • use education and training to help you understand and work with the new technology (professional development)
  • set boundaries in your life for the use of technology, and turn off the technology to devote time to things that are non-related to technology

Intervention Links

  • A book by Michelle M. Weil, Ph.D. and Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D. that helps technology users with anxiety cope with technology at work, at home, and at play: Technostress

Relevance for Students and Educators Using Educational Media

Student learning and needs have changed with the inclusion of technology in our world. As a result, the education field must learn to adapt in order to be successful. As educators, we must realize that, when we or our students use technology, technology-related anxiety may, and will often, occur. In order to encourage an ease of learning and teaching, technology users should realize that anxiety commonly occurs and that measures to relieve is available. Technology is meant to be a positive and beneficial experience, and to be able to reap the benefits, users must learn to adapt and seek help to relieve anxiety.

Stop Motion animation on Technology-Related Anxiety

Technology-Related Anxiety Added by Fariba Adibi on February 8, 2015 Added by: Karina Zanrosso on January 28, 2017

See Also


Beck Anxiety Inventory


  1. Elayaraja, P. (Ph.D). (2010, October 27) HealthMad [Technostress can make you angry with the computers]. Retrieved from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Fiehn, B. (2010). Stressing out: Handling Change in a Digital World. Community & Junior College Libraries. 16. 255-258. Retrieved from Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "name" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "name" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "name" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "name" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Taylor, J. (2009, July 13). Psychology of Technology: Disconnectivity Anxiety [Web log message]. Retrieved from
  4. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2011).Facebook. Wikipedia foundation Inc. Retrieved February 25th, 2010,
  5. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2011). Flickr. Wikipedia foundation Inc. Retrieved February 25th, 2010,
  6. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2010). Twitter. Wikipedia foundation Inc. Retrieved February 25th, 2010,
  7. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2010). Blogging. Wikipedia foundation Inc. Retrieved February 25th, 2010,
  8. Rosen, L.D., Sears, D.C. & Weil, M.M. (1987) Computerphobia, Behavior Research Methods. Instruments and Computers, 19,167-179.
  9. Folk, J. (2010). Anxiety Centre. Retrieved from[[1]]
  10. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2010). Learning Disability. Wikipedia foundation Inc. Retrieved February 25th, 2010,
  11. Annalyse Callahan Raub. (2001). Correlates of Computer Anxiety in College Students . Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from Scholary Commons database.
  12. Dyck, J., & Al-Awar Smither, J. (1994). Age Differences in Computer Anxiety: The Role of Computer Experience, Gender and Education. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 10, 238-248. Retrieved from,3,5;journal,132,170;linkingpublicationresults,1:300321,1