Indian Village Turns Off TV: A village in the Indian state of Maharashtra declares. “Independence” from the two modern addictions of television and the internet for at least a few hours each day. The siren that sounds every 19:00 in Vadgaon Village, Sangli District. Is a sign for all residents to turn off their televisions and cell phones. The two “addictive” instruments can be reactivat when the village council sounds the siren again at 8:30 p.m.
“We decided at a village meeting on 14 August – ahead of India’s Independence Day – that we need to stop this addiction,” Vijay Mohite, chairman of the village council, told BBC Hindi. Mohite said children have become dependent on television and cell phones due to online classes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
After all educational institutions reopened this year, children returned to regular classes in schools and colleges. But they come back [from class] and play on their phones or sit and watch television,” he said. He added that many adults also spend too much time on their devices instead of talking to each other.
Vandana Mohite (not a relative of Vijay Mohite) said she found it difficult to keep an eye on her two children “because they would be completely focus on playing with their phone or watching TV”. “Since this new norm started, it’s been a lot easier for my husband to help them study after work and I can peacefully do my job in the kitchen,” the woman added.
However, convincing all the villagers to agree with this digital detox idea is not easy.
Vijay Mohite said at first, when the council discussed the matter and submitted a proposal to the villagers, the male residents scoffed at the idea. The council then brought together the women residents, who were open enough to admit that they could enjoy watching a lot of TV series and agreed that the whole village should turn off televisions and cell phones for a few hours.
The council met again, and decided that a siren would be installed above the village temple.
The decision was initially not easy to implement. As the sirens sounded, council staff and groups of villagers walked around, asking residents to turn off their TVs and cell phones. “[Now], the decision is finally fully implemented throughout the village,” Mohite said. But can turning off your TV and phone for a while help? You can, says Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma, professor of clinical psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences
“Covid has increased preferences for online activity or time spent online,” he said. A study conducted by Dr Sharma and colleagues among 682 adults (495 girls and 187 boys) between July and December 2020, showed that “problematic internet use” is a rapidly emerging phenomenon among adolescents and adults. young.
This is one of the most critical challenges posed by the increasing use of the internet.
“The risk of problematic use increases with excessive unproductive internet use, which can lead to psychological stress,” the study found. “This has the potential to harm many aspects of a teenager’s life.” Teenagers who have a tendency to experience psychological stress or those who experience stress tend to use the internet in various forms (social media, online games, and so on) to escape for a moment from unpleasant emotional states, he added.
As a result, they may miss face-to-face social interactions, social gatherings, family interactions, and extracurricular events and gradually become isolated. Digital fasting that is done consciously as a family to engage in quality activities is the foundation for reducing dependence on online activities. Says Dr Sharma.
“You need to talk to kids and make sure they have physical or offline recreational activities and get enough sleep and food intake,” he said. Dilip Mohite, a sugarcane farmer with three school-age sons, said he could see the difference the decision had made. Before, children didn’t concentrate on their studies,” he said. “Now, there is normal conversation [at home, even] between adults.”