Fear of Technology

2016-0406 Fear of Technology

After several conversations with survivors of life-threatening adversity, I concluded many survivors rely on the following excuses to justify their fear of technology:

  1. If I didn’t use it in the past, I don’t need it in the future.
  2. Technology is overwhelming.
  3. Remembering instructions is difficult.
  4. Somebody may see what I am doing.

While I agree each of the four excuses is valid, part of the cognitive recovery formula requires the use of compensation tools such as technology.

Past vs. Future

The world is changing. Even some of poorest nations, such as Kenya, use technology to facilitate improvement.  It may be true that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, but it is also true that those who do not dream about the future are condemned to live in the past. Most people rely on a calculator or a computer for calculations, rather than an abacus or a slide rule. Computers, phones, televisions, cars, and many more items have been enhanced by technology. We, too, should embrace technology.

Too Many Options

Many brain injury survivors report they are simply overwhelmed by the numerous platforms, programs, and tools available to them. I absolutely agree there are more options than any one person can evaluate. However, being overwhelmed is not a valid reason to avoid taking action. You could review summaries of existing technology to see which platforms, programs, and tools are right for you. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with using one solution today and a different solution tomorrow.

Instructions are Confusing

I agree the instructions that accompany phones, computers, and software are frequently confusing. The fact that instructions are confusing is actually to your advantage because you must exercise your brain to find a solution.  Cognitive exercise is beneficial to everyone, not just brain injury survivors.  If written instructions are confusing, you have an incentive to focus on your learning style to determine how you learn best – reading, writing, listening, or touching.  Even if none of the learning styles help you remember, the fact that you have a less-than-perfect memory presents fantastic opportunities to learn compensation skills other than memory.

Big Brother is Watching

Big Brother may know there is a 99.99999% chance only people who have a specific condition use a certain program. Big Brother may know that there is a 99.99999% chance only people who have a memory problem access a certain website. You may get more junk mail if you use a certain program or access a certain website, but the fact is Big Brother could be watching you anyway through your cable, dish, or fiber-optic network; through the GPS in your phone or your car; and even though your credit or debit card. You are not alone, so do not let a fear of Big Brother prevent you for using the compensation tools you need.


Click here to read another Beyond Adversity post.

What has prevented you from using the technology you need to facilitate your recovery? What technology (devices, software, games, etc.) or other compensation tools do you recommend?


  1. The most frustrating thing that comes with using my computer and cell phone is the need for me to be able to recall passwords. Before you think another thought: YES I have written them down, YES someone I trust knows them, YES I know that the service can assist me in obtaining my passwords, and YES I know that they can be changed and altered to make them easier to recall. Even with all of these remedies, it is still frustrating and belittling when something like this occurs.

    1. Paul, I have a similar challenge. What frustrates me is not my lack of memory for passwords that include lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and symbols is when the technology I use provides an error message saying I entered the wrong password and then locks me out of the system for 24 hours. Since I pasted the password into the login, and the password has the right number of characters, I know the password is correct. I decided long ago there is no benefit to memorizing passwords. If there was, software developers would not have created so many options for us to compensate with technology.

  2. Technology has helped me with time management, problem solving and organization. Improving these skills has helped me improve my relationships with my family. In addition I am getting more accomplished in my daily life therefore my overall functioning is improved.

    I do have difficulty with many of the items mentioned in your post. For example, learning new technology can me very difficult for me. My advice is to start small. Learn a new APP or program and then practice, practice, practice.

    1. Cheryl, technology, like medication and software development, has benefits and detriments. I have resisted the use of all Apple products with a touch screen because the fingerprints on the screen irritate me, I want to have nothing to do with the cloud, and I cannot imagine the benefit of using technology without the ports I use. Recently, for no reason in particular, I used an old iPad to access the internet and see if I could possibly use it for blogging. I am sure the answer is obvious to millions of people, but it was not obvious to me.

      I was immediately struck by the simplicity and usability of the iPad. I have not created a post with it yet, but I will try again soon.

  3. Fabulous post! Been there, freaked out about technology. So I delved into it. I searched to understand.
    I’ve heard many fear based complaints about “Google” – insert any network – knowing too much. Information is gathered from you to make your experience with technology a personalized experience based on information you have provided or past browsing history. This saves time because you don’t have to search so hard to find what you like.
    I can’t really speak for devices other than a desktop computer.
    Ultimately I have found that if you look for what makes you happy you will find it. With technology as with life.

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