This Indian village opts for “evening detox” to reduce life’s daily digital clutter

SANGLI: A village in Maharashtra’s Sangli district is leading the way out of the clutter of electronic gadgets and social media platforms in modern life by engaging its residents in a nightly ‘digital detox’ .

The idea was suggested by Vijay Mohite, the village sarpanch of Mohityanche Vadgaon, and the locals enthusiastically participated in this new exercise.

A siren goes off from a local temple at 7 p.m., signaling people to turn off their cell phones and other gadgets and turn off their TVs etc. to indulge in book reading, study and conversation, while the second alarm at 8:30 pm signals the end of the detox period.

Speaking to PTI, the coronavirus-induced lockdown and subsequent period of online lessons has put cellphones in children’s hands for long hours, even after school has ended for the day, while hours parental television viewing hours have been extended.

“When physical lessons resumed, teachers realized that the children had become lazy, no longer wanted to read or write and were mostly absorbed by their mobile phones before and after school hours. There were no rooms separate study rooms in villagers’ homes. So I put forward the idea of ​​a digital detox,” he said.

“I initially proposed a duration of 1.5 hours. Initially, there was hesitation because people wondered if it was possible to get away from mobile phone and television screens. The day of independence we summoned a gram sabha of women and decided to buy a mermaid.Then ASHA workers, anganwadi sevikas, gram panchayat employees, retired teachers went from house in house to raise awareness about digital detox,” he added.

Mohityanche Vadgaon has hosted freedom fighters, won cleanliness awards from state and central governments and is known for maintaining social harmony with a focus always on development work, he said. he declares.

“Currently, between 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., people keep their cell phones aside, turn off the TVs and focus on reading, studying, writing and talking. A neighborhood committee has been set up to monitor whether the initiative is implemented.”, explained the sarpanch.

Underscoring the need for such a move, student Gayatri Nikam said her peers and others were glued to phones and TVs during lockdown, even during power outages, with barely a glance on textbooks and other study materials.

Another person said the women in the village households were busy watching TV series and there was not much parental supervision of the children.

“Now, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the children study while the parents read and write. There is no disruption because everyone is going about such productive activities,” the villager added.

Incidentally, earlier this month, some members of the Jain community in Raisen in Madhya Pradesh observed a 24-hour “digital fast” during “paryushan parva” by keeping away from their smartphones and other gadgets. electronics.

PN

Christina A. Kroll