maharashtra: Digital detox: A Maharashtra village holds a lesson for all of us

Thanks to innumerable gadgets and modern technology, the modern generation has been enjoying the comforts and convenience which many wouldn’t have imagined just a few decades back. But, the overuse of these gadgets has brought a few challenges and there is a different kind of stress that has been affecting millions across the globe, which calls for digital detox.

The concept of digital detox has surfaced only in recent times and focuses on limited or controlled use of tech devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, television and even social media surfing. Now a village in Sangli district of Maharashtra has taken a lead in showing the way out of the ever-increasing screetime by making its residents go for a digital detox. A siren goes off at 7 pm every night in Mohityanche Vadgaon to signal people to keep their phones and other electronic devices aside for 1.5 hours, reports PTI.

Vijay Mohite, the sarpanch of Mohityanche Vadgaon village, first brought up the idea before the residents. And, now they have been participating in this novel exercise enthusiastically.

Every day, a siren goes off from a local temple at 7 pm, signalling people to put off their mobile phones and other gadgets and switch off their television sets, etc to indulge in reading books, studying and talking with one another, while the second alarm at 8.30 pm signals the end of the detox period.

While talking to PTI, sarpanch Mohite said the coronavirus-induced lockdown and the subsequent spell of online classes brought mobile phones into the hands of children for long hours even after school ended for the day, while television viewing hours of parents got extended.

“When physical classes resumed, teachers realised children had become lazy, did not want to read and write and were mostly engrossed in their mobile phones before and after the school hours. There weren’t separate study rooms in the homes of the villagers. So I put forth the idea of a digital detox,” he said.

“I had proposed a one-and-a-half hour period at first. Initially, there was hesitancy as people were wondering if it was possible to keep away from mobile and TV screens. On Independence Day, we convened a gram sabha of women and decided to purchase a siren. Then ASHA workers, anganwadi sevikas, gram panchayat employees, retired teachers went home to home to create awareness about digital detox,” he added.

Mohityanche Vadgaon has been home to freedom fighters, has won awards for cleanliness from the state and central governments and is known for maintaining social harmony, with the focus always being on development works, he said.

“At present, between 7 pm and 8.30 pm, people keep their mobile phones aside, switch off television sets and focus on reading, studying, writing and conversations. A ward-wise committee has been set up to monitor if the initiative is being implemented,” the sarpanch explained.

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