Maharashtra village chooses to adopt “evening detox” to reduce everyday digital clutter

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A village in Maharashtra’s Sangli district is illuminating the path out of the tangle of electronic devices and social media platforms in contemporary living as mobiles and electronic gadgets take over our lives.

Every night at seven o’clock, a siren from a nearby temple sounds as a reminder for people to put away their cell phones and other electronic devices, turn off their televisions, and engage in other activities such as reading, studying, and socialising. At eight thirty, the detox period is officially over.

The villagers of Mohityanche Vadgaon village have eagerly embraced the idea proposed by Vijay Mohite, the hamlet’s sarpanch, and are participating in this new practise.

According to Mohite, the lockdown brought on by COVID-19 caused parents to watch more television, while online classes allowed kids to use their phones long after school had ended for the day.

“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.

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“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.

The Sarpanch described the procedure, saying that between 7 and 8.30 pm, people put their cellphones away, turn off their televisions, and concentrate on reading, studying, writing, and talks.

In addition, he noted that a committee to track awards has been established to see if the effort is being carried out.

Some members of the Jain community in Raisen, Madhya Pradesh, carried out a similar action in September when they observed a “digital fast” for 24 hours during the “paryushan parva” by avoiding their cellphones and other electronic devices.

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Digital ClutterEvening DetoxMaharashtra's Village