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Owing to the increasing cases of deteriorating mental health of the students of  the Delhi University (DU), the varsity has decided to set up two mobile phone de-addiction centres in collaboration with the World University Service (WUS) in the North and South Campus.

Smart phones have eased the communication process. However, it has given rise to a new set of severe problems. A recent study conducted by the Department of Psychology suggests that the increased dependence on the smart phones is leading to severe smart phone addiction and instability in the mental health of the students of DU. In such a scenario, digital detox and counselling of the student community has become imperative.

Researchers have decoded four common triggers for the compulsive use of smartphones which, if addressed, can help shun the screen addiction. The four triggers for habitual smartphone use are: during unoccupied moments, like waiting for a friend to show up; before or during tedious and repetitive tasks; when in socially awkward situations; and when people anticipate getting a message or notification.

Since most of the communication regarding classes and college activities happens through the smart phones, giving up on them is not an option, making them a necessary evil.

Mamta Banerjee, from Lady Shri Ram College, said, “The whole college works on Whatsapp. Everything regarding classes, events and activities is communicated through Whatsapp only. The phone keeps pinging all day and I can’t help but to get addicted to it.”

Another student, who wishes to be anonymous, said, “I wake up to the beep of the cell-phone and sleep with the cell phone in my hand. I always get the fear of missing out and the compulsive urge to constantly check my phone which has increased my dependence on it.”

Professors of the DU colleges have observed the increased use of mobile phones in the classroom, and aggressive behaviour of students when they were called out for it. Dr. Reema Ranjan, a professor commented, “I always ask students to keep their mobile phones in their bags as students tend to use phones during lectures and the attention span of the students has reduced.”

Head of the Department of Psychology, DU, Professor Ananda Pradhan said, “The study conducted by the department found out some stark realities about the mental health and digital toxicity in students. Therefore, owing to the welfare of both the students and teachers, we recommended the varsity to setup the de- addiction centres for counselling”.

In light of this, the University is set to opening these centres at the World University Service (WUS) in the North and South Campus and proposes to organise workshops and regular counselling for students in order to facilitate digital detoxification and check the screen time among students.

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SriyaRane

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