Villagers in Mohityanche Vadgaon switch off their mobile phones and TVs at 7 pm everyday for 90 minutes.
By: Pramod Thomas
A village in India’s Maharashtra state has started an innovative ‘digital detox’ experiment and it was a huge success that now it spreads to other areas, according to reports.
Around 3,000 people living in Mohityanche Vadgaon in Sangli district will switch off their mobile phones and TVs at 7 pm everyday for 90 minutes. Now, five other villages in the district have adopted the ‘detox’ system.
As per the system, a siren wails from the temple in Mohityanche Vadgaon at 7 pm informing them to turn off their phones and televisions. At 8.30 pm, a second siren signals the end of the break. After initial resistance, the new system now works very well, said village officials.
Now, a ward-wise committee monitors the implementation of the project in the village. Also, volunteers visit every home in the village to create awareness about ‘digital detox’.
The idea was first brought up by head of the village council Vijay Mohite when he noticed that there was no informal gatherings of people in the village after 7 pm.
“People go inside their homes, shut the door and stare at the phone or TV. We decided this was not good for social cohesion,” he said.
According to him, during lockdown children were using mobile phones for longer hours.
“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 added.
Mohite proposed the idea to Jitender Dudi, who looks after district development, ad it was later implemented.
“Children weren’t doing their homework. They were looking at videos on their phones half the time and not really focusing. Teachers complained that during the pandemic and school closures, children had not only fallen behind but had got used to spending much more time on their phones,” Dudi said.
“Now, from 7 pm to 8.30 pm, children study while parents read and write. There is no disturbance as everyone goes about such productive activities,” a villager was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month, the Jain community in Raisen in Madhya Pradesh observed a ‘digital fast’ for 24 hours by keeping away from their smartphones and other electronic gadgets.