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Physical Risk

Finally, some people are concerned that ICT products and services can be dangerous and might cause physical harm. Perceptions of physical risk appear through concerns around ICT addiction and the impact to mental and physical health. Examples of this physical risks include physical inactivity, becoming addicted to ICT, eyesight, or strain injury.

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

Example 1
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“I fear that I might become addicted to ICT.”

Example 1

This risk presents when older people are surprised with the amount of time that has past when on their device and they have the fear of becoming addicted to it. For instance, Dawn loves playing ‘Words with Friends” on her tablet. The other day she sat down to play while having a cup of tea and the next time she looked at her watch, three hours had passed. She is concerned she is addicted to the game.

Example 2
“I fear being too physically inactive.”
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Example 2

Physical risks may manifest as a fear that one will become physically inactive he or she are spending time with an ICT device. For example, Dawn is worried that her sister spends too much time sitting in front of the computer watching YouTube clips and she is concerned her sister isn’t being physically active enough and won’t be able to maintain her health.


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

Individual Strategies for Managing Physical Risk

Strategy Illustration 1


Take control. Turn off as many push notifications as possible and stop sound alerts on your phone to avoid distractions


Eye health. Often people stare at their screens – remember to blink and look into the distance regularly. Have your eyes checked regularly by your optometrist.


Move your body. Trade your games for apps that monitor your health and activity. Alternatively search online for some fun exercises or online movement classes you can do. For instance, try a Tai Chi 5-minute YouTube session.


Avoid getting injured from using ICT. Set up your computer ergonomically and clean your screen. There are many YouTube videos that you can find online that might help you set up your environment.


Set a timer. ICT devices are there to assist you. You are in control so it’s important to set usage boundaries. Consider using a timer and have frequent breaks from screens– at least 10 minutes every hour.


Apps. Remove distracting apps off your home screen and consider installing an app that tracks your smartphone habits so that you can set a specific usage goal and see how well you stick to it.


Monitor. Keep a log of how much time you spend on the internet. Start an internet diary where you write down the details of your daily internet use. This will help you understand whether you are using technology too much. Your phone may keep such a log already.

Relational Strategies for Managing Physical Risk

Strategy Illustration


Physically see people. It is easy to be captivated by mobile games, online videos and social media but nothing beats interacting with people in person. Organise time with your family and friends to go for a walk, visit a museum or go out for a meal.


Set boundaries. If you feel you are getting addicted, set a limit to your mobile use and tell close friends or family that you may not be responding to their messages as quickly as you used to.


Set a limit. Social networks have transformed computer and mobile use for all ages. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, it is important impose limits on the amount of time you spend on social media.


Check in. Have a good relationship with your doctors and medical specialists. Have regular health check and discuss your ICT usage with your doctors. They can help you monitor your use.


Health issues. If you have any health issues that prevent you from learning ICT (weaker eyesight, hearing, or shaky hands), consider discussing these issues with ICT mentors and tutors at your local libraries or senior organisation. There might be tools, tips, and solutions to help you better integrate appropriate technological devices with your limitations.
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Strategies to Managing Perceived Physical Risk

The fear generated by physical 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 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.

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

will this digital device work the way I want it to – it includes forgetting instructions and managing passwords.
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.
Dawn Strategies 6
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