A digital detox: why it’s imperative


Living in these locked down times, we are spending a lot of time on our phones. It could be due to disconnection, boredom, or, a matter of necessity. Whatever the reason, many of us are facing anxiety and panic issues due to the sadness and negativity surrounding the pandemic.

Talking to the HT City team Manju Agarwal, professor of psychology and dean student welfare, Amity University, Lucknow campus, said, “Our days revolve around our screens right now, and it’s not easy to just turn off devices when almost everything is on our phones. Many of us have been offering help to those in need but watching too much sad news/videos are cause for anxiety among many people. There can be ways to help others and stay away from social media intermittently. I suggest meditation, book reading and a digital detoxification to get rid of one’s depression and anxiety pangs.”

There are those who got into depression and have decided to go on a digital detox. Student, Butool Zehra, said, “During such times, when the country is battling a deadly pandemic, I was constantly bombarded with sad news, and the sense of helplessness took a heavy toll on my mental health. This forced me to take course-corrective measures and go on a social media break. It helped me relax for a while and find joy in little things.”

“I finally decided to disable my social media accounts. They were disturbing me and I could not concentrate on my studies. After a point, I simply could not take it and decided to just get away from all the negativity. Trust me, it helps. I am calm and at peace now. The whole morning ritual of checking DMs and seeing stories as soon as you wake up and doing the same before going to bed was, in fact, taxing me,” said Prajakta Khedkar, another student.

There are many who stay connected to social media for causes, but they too got overwhelmed and decided to take a break. “Through my group ‘Green Crusaders’ where I am a volunteer, we were doing our bit during the ongoing crisis. We were connected via social media. But after three weeks, due to excessive scrolling on social media platforms deep panic set in and I realised the importance of a digital detox. I reduced my screen time in order to recuperate mentally and heal,” said Oyeshi Ganguly, a social activist.

Another student, Sakina Motiwala, said she tries to avoid negativity, and so takes short breaks. “I am not that active on social media the way I used to be. Once, I even uninstalled apps and logged out of all my social media accounts. Slowly, I learned not to get influenced by its negativity and be active on social media just for half an hour a day,” she said.

Then youngsters like Pratiksha Jadhav believe that this cannot be a solution. “Social media is very important to stay up to date. Sometimes, seeing the bitter truth I do get distressed. But I haven’t completely stopped using social media. In fact, I don’t let negativity take a toll on me.”

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