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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 Rosa, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:

Example 1
Rosa 3
“I fear that I might become addicted to ICT.”

Example 1

This risk presents itself when older people are surprised by the amount of time that has passed on their device, and they fear becoming addicted. For instance, Rosa uses her mobile phone for everything, including chatting with family and friends back in her homeland. Due to differences in time zone, she spends both her days and part of her evenings plugged into the phone. She thinks it is a lot, but she cannot stop using it.

Example 2
“I fear that ICT devices will do me physical harm.”
Rosa 1

Example 2

Some older adults are concerned about the fear that ICT devices may do physical harm. For example, Rosa has heard about the blue light from the mobile device damaging her sight. She worries she will start having problems with her vision.


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

Individual Strategies for Managing Physical Risk

Rosa Strategy-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. 


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.


Move your body. Trade your games for apps that monitor your health and activity.


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

Rosa Strategy-2


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


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 to impose limits on the amount of time you spend on social media.


Check in. Have a good relationship with your doctors and medical specialists. Find specialists that can speak your language. Have regular health checks 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 your ethnic groups, senior associations such as U3A, or your local libraries.


Make sure to meet up and connect with people from the same cultural background. It is easy to be captivated by mobile games, online videos and social media but nothing beats interacting with people in person. Find learning buddies from the same level and cultural background who are fine with blending technology with other activities.
Anker 1

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 Rosa 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.
Rosa Strategy 6
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