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 Dawn, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:
“I fear wasting my time using my ICT device(s).”
This risk may be manifested as a feeling that learning a task might too time consuming to be worth the users’ time, leading the user not to engage with it. For example, Dawn use FaceTime, but does not want to learn Zoom or other video conferencing tools as she thinks she will take too long to learn it.
“I fear I won’t be able to keep up with new devices, and my content (files, photos, programs, etc.) won’t work across my different devices”
Operational risks may manifest as a fear of complexity, which may be daunting especially with devices/tech. For instance, Dawn is running out of storage space on her phone but fears using cloud storage as she not sure if she will still be able to access her data across her devices.
Strategies to Managing Perceived Operational Risk
Operational risk is aligned both with the person’s ICT ability and the person’s confidence to overcome the perceived risk and try to engage with the digital device. There are individual things people can do themselves to manage the risk, as well as relational strategies which consider the role of social influences on a person’s ability to try new things and interact with ICT.
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