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Perceived Operational Risk

Perceived Operational risks are the most common type of risks and relate to the fear of failing to use technology. The senior population is growing, and lack of engagement with new technology is an issue impacting social connection. Older people are concerned and fearful as to whether they will be able to use their computer, tablet, or mobile phone due to their own personal ICT abilities. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed and get frustrated when they cannot get their devices to work. They don’t trust themselves to overcome an ICT challenge presented to them. This fear is focused on whether the digital device will really do what they want it to do and includes being in control of the functional aspects of different products.

For Amon, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:

Example 1
Amon 1
“I fear wasting my time using my ICT device(s).”

Example 1

This risk manifests as a feeling that learning a task might be too time-consuming and not worth the person’s time, leading the person to not engage with it. For example, Amon thinks he does not need technology and prefers to use his time in activities he already knows.

Example 2
Amon 2_edited
“I fear I won’t know how to operate my device and forget the instructions before I can use it.”

Example 2

Operational risks may also be exhibited as a fear of not knowing how to operate a device and forgetting the instructions or doing something wrong to it. For example, Amon would like to know how to communicate with his grandchildren online, but he finds that learning it is too complicated, and technology might have changed by the time he does so.


Can you relate to those example above?  Go to strategies to learn about how Amon can address these issues.

Individual Strategies for Managing Operational Risk

Amon Strategy-1


Basic simple steps. Recognise that it will take a bit more time when you are learning something new, but that does not to be considered wasted time. Learning keeps your mind active. Be kind to yourself. It is okay to follow your own pace. 


Be brave and keep trying. Most mistakes can be corrected, and devices will not be broken as you learn. If you are locked out of your devices, for example, you can always take the device to the store to reset. Practise is the best way of learning, and you will gain confidence over time.


Break it down. Do not try to learn it all. Learn one thing at a time, so you don’t feel tired and overwhelmed. Consider starting on tasks that have been created in your own language.


Take notes. Take notes in your own language to help you with retrieving the information. Write down your ICT problems, solutions and resources so you can refer to them at a later time.


New skills. Consider the costs and benefits of learning new ICT skills. Start by learning skills that are most beneficial for you. For example, Zoom is a simple tool that gives you the benefits of connecting with your friends and family with little risk.


Relevance. Make sure you focus on tasks that are relevant to you and will benefit you the most with the least amount of effort. Your time is limited, so focus on what matters the most.

Relational Strategies for Managing Operational Risk

Amon Strategy-2


Family assistance. Find family members, friends or neighbours who are comfortable with being your go-to person for more complex technological issues. They know your language and can help you in your primary language, which is even better. For example, if your grandchildren have more time than your children, then ask your grandchildren.


Mentors. Cultivate people (family, friends, or professionals) in your ethnic community who have a higher level of digital literacy and are willing to help with technology. Tell them the specific tasks you want to learn. Ask them to focus on them and show you step by step. Remember to take notes so that you can use them later.


Libraries. Visit your local and digital libraries to explore books, tutorials, manuals, or classes that can help you with these specific tasks. Also, check sites like 'Be Connected' for specific information on how to engage with ICT tasks. Many libraries have books and services in multiple languages.


Similar devices. Try to have similar devices, software, and services as your partner; so you can help each other. Similarly, when asking for the help of peers, focus on those who have similar devices, software, and services to yours as it makes the task easier.


Learning priorities. ICT changes very rapidly, and updating yourself might take time. Assess how important it is for you to complete this specific task. If it is a routine task, learn, take notes and practise. If it is a one-off, consider asking a knowledgeable friend, ideally from the same cultural background, to help you out.


Culture & Language hurdles. Ethnic communities of people with a similar background can often be of great help to properly express concerns and receive relatable advice. Try seeking out community members who are well connected within and without your group. There are always some very active people both within their ethnic community and in the broader society. They may be of great help to ‘translate’ your problems and seek help outside of your community.
Anker 1

Strategies to Managing Perceived Operational Risk

Operational risk is aligned both with the person’s ICT ability and the person’s confidence to try to overcome the perceived risk and engage with the digital device. There are individual strategies people can do themselves to manage this risk, as well as relational strategies which consider the role of social influence on a person’s ability to try new things and interact with ICT.


You may be interested in
Other potential risks
that Amon is facing:

concerns about feeling incompetent, getting frustrated and being overwhelmed with digital technology.
fears focused with online payments, losing privacy, identity theft and automatic payments.
worries about online transactions, not receiving the purchased goods and processing errors.
fear of buying too much online and the costs with upgrading software and devices.
concerns that digital devices encourage physical inactivity and becoming addicted to the devices as well as the strains on eyesight.
Amon Strategy 1
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