CHENNAI: You might have heard of upwaas (fasting/abstaining) on account of a festival, spiritual reasons or for health purposes. But here’s a twist on the age-old concept where you don’t ditch your food, but give your mobile phones and data connections a miss for an entire day. While this may seem like an easy task, with digital addiction on the rise, especially among youngsters, living without the mobile phone for a day can be a herculean task.
It is to reduce this dependence on technology that Sorav Jain, ‘Thinker in Chief’ at echoVME, a digital marketing consultant-author-cum-speaker, instituted the ‘Digital Upwaas’ challenge. As part of the challenge, one can take a simple survey that provides details on how addicted you are to your mobile phone. The challenge also urges you to take up the task of switching off your phone on Sunday, and enjoy interacting with people in real time.
“We have had people who took the survey and their results were as high as 96 per cent,” says Sorav, who is a digital marketer himself. “We have had over 3,500 people take the survey and around 650 people register for the challenge. While I have had people who wrote back to me saying that they enjoyed their Sunday and were more stress-free and relaxed, there have been others who reached out to me after six hours of the challenge saying that they could not do it any longer.”
When he took the test, he scored 73 per cent and took up the challenge. Sorav found that it was initially very hard for the first few hours to suppress the urge to check his phone.
“The first five-six hours were very tough,” he shares. “As the day progressed, it got simpler. I took the effort to go out with my wife and children. I found that I could spend quality time with my family without constantly worrying about work. I was also able to complete more work in the absence of a phone.”
A whopping 2,038 people said they woke up and checked their phone first thing in the morning while 538 others said they didn’t. A majority of respondents also admitted that the notification ‘no internet connection’ annoyed them. The survey presents a telling representation of how dependent people are on their phones for everything from work to validation. Sorav says that the Digital Upwaas challenge is one that will help with your mental wellbeing and advised people to take it up at least once a month.
Let it go
Signs and symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder may present themselves in both physical and emotional manifestations.
Emotional symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder: Depression, dishonesty, feelings of guilt, anxiety, feelings of euphoria when using the computer, inability to prioritise or keep schedules, isolation, no sense of time, defensiveness, avoidance of work, agitation, mood swings, fear, loneliness, boredom with routine tasks and procrastination
Physical symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder: Backache, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, insomnia, poor nutrition (failing to eat or eating in excess), poor personal hygiene, neck pain, dry eyes and other vision problems, weight gain or loss
To take the survey, available in three regional languages, and register for the challenge, visit: www.soravjain.com/digitalupwaas.