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A village in India is urging its 15,000 residents to turn off their phones and televisions as the sun goes down in a “digital detox” campaign. They hope to encourage people to mingle more with their neighbors and allow children to study with peace of mind.
Raju Magdum, the head of the Mangaon village council in Maharashtra state, India, said on March 6 that he introduced this policy because he was horrified when people in the village were glued to the TV and phone screens every night. .
“People in the house do not talk to each other, children do not concentrate on homework, neighbors no longer stop on the street to ask each other questions.“, he said.
According to this policy, starting from March 8, the command siren will sound at 19:00 every day, signaling to 15,000 residents in the village that it is time to turn off electronic devices. At 20:30, the whistle sounded again, signaling that the “detox” time was over.
However, compliance is voluntary. But if a family repeatedly ignores the appeal, the local government will penalize them by raising property taxes.
It is known that most of the village houses in Mangaon are not big enough to have separate classrooms for children. With everyone in the same space and parents using cell phones, television will have a big impact on a child’s ability to focus on learning.
“Children are severely affected, do not do well in school. During the pandemic, when schools are closed, children are used to spending more time using mobile phones“, said Magdum, saying that many villages in the area are ready to carry out this operation.
The idea to detox from electronic devices first emerged last year in Sangli district, adjacent to Mangaon. So far, five villages have applied a one-hour ban on using electronic devices in the evening because of concerns about people’s lack of social interaction and children not concentrating on their studies.
“After 6 months, I noticed that people talked more and more laughter appeared. Family members interact with each other, social communication is also better“, said Jitender Dudi, the official overseeing the implementation of the “electronic device detox” policy in Sangli district.
“The atmosphere in the village is busier at 7pm, but it doesn’t distract children as much as phones and televisions. People connect with each other and that’s what we aim for“, he added.
In 2021, the Jain community in India launched a “phone-free” challenge for young people. More than 2,000 people tried to stay away from the phone screen for at least 12 hours a day for 50 days to “purify” their mind.
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