On the second and third Sundays of June, thousands of Chennaiites are going on a fast. But there’s a catch. They are not going to abstain from food or drink, but technology. Yes, for the entire day, they have signed up to refrain from using their mobile phones to reconnect with themselves and a life away from screens.
More than 3,000 Chennaiites have taken the survey since Monday and the results are disheartening — nearly 40 per cent turned out to be phone addicts. “I am a 70% addict myself. Last Sunday, I undertook the challenge and found I was more productive and self-sufficient. This proves that using technology is not bad, but the hours we spend on our phones have to be curtailed,” he explains.
Ishita Bhatt, a 22-year-old student pursuing fine arts, says she has signed up for the upvaas. “I have tried staying away from my phone in the past but managed to do so for barely three hours. I got so bored that I resorted to watching a movie on Netflix,” she says. She aims to succeed going 24 hours without her phone this time.
It’s not just millennials like her — many above the age of 45 have also accepted the challenge. Ishita says her father has signed up too. “He is addicted to his phone and spends at least two hours a day playing Candy Crush. So, as a family, we have decided to switch off all the gadgets at home and spend Sunday with each other,” she shares.
Swathi M, a counsellor for school and college students, says that going on such digital detoxes at least twice a month could do a lot of good. According to her, “Using the phone consistently for two hours or more can put a lot of strain on the eyes, neck, hands and mind. Studies have also shown that phones and social media are major factors of depression, inferiority complex, insomnia due to staring at screens for long, social anxiety and so on.”