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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 Joshua, 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, Joshua feels people around him are spending way too much time on their devices. It irritates him when he sees people using their phones in front of him, and he often comments about what he describes as ‘phone addition’ and that they need to live in ‘the real world’.  

Example 2
“I fear that ICT devices will do me physical harm.”
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Example 2

The physical risks some older adults are concerned about focus on the fear that ICT devices may do physical harm. For example, Joshua is worried that he’ll damage his eyesight and need new glasses or get a repetitive strain injury by using a mouse.


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

Individual Strategies for Managing Physical Risk

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Interacting with people in person. Social and physical activities are important. Organise time with your family and friends to go for a walk, visit a museum or go out for a meal.


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.


Courses. Making learning and using ICT socially and physically active: attend ICT and non-ICT classes at U3A or your local libraries, find learning buddies.


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.

Relational Strategies for Managing Physical Risk

Strategy Illustration 4


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.


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.


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.


Be in the moment. Make sure you don’t look at your screen while driving or walking. You don’t want to hurt yourself or someone else.


Be physical. Make learning and using ICT physically active: search online for some fun exercises or online movement classes you can do. For instance, try a Tai Chi 5-minute YouTube session.


Making learning and using ICT a social and physical activity: attend ICT and non-ICT classes at U3A or your local libraries, find learning buddies.
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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.


You may be interested in
Other potential risks that Joshua 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.
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