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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 Timothy, 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, Timothy loves playing Minecraft with his grandchildren. He can see the educational benefits of the game, and they are always having a great time playing together. However, his wife often complains that both him and the grandchildren are spending too much time on the game, and they seem addicted to it.

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, as he or she is spending time with an ICT device. For example, Timothy is worried that his passion for technology means that he is spending too much time in front of a screen and not enough time being physically active.


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

Individual Strategies for Managing Physical Risk

Strategy Illustration 8


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


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. Consider trading your games apps for those that monitor your health and activity.


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.


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.


Be focused. Avoid aimless browsing. Give your time online a purpose: Family history, photography, research holidays, catch up on the news of the day or find the answer to that random question that’s been bothering you for ages. Then log off!

Relational Strategies for Managing Physical Risk

Strategy Illustration 7


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 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. 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.
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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 Timothy 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.
Timothy Strategy 6
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