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Due to addiction, the village of Bansi in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district has banned the use of mobile phones by children and teenagers under the age of 18. Anyone who violates the resolution, which was “unanimously” accepted at a Gram Sabha meeting on November 11, will be fined Rs 200.

According to Gajanan Tale, the sarpanch of Bansi Gram Panchayat, children became addicted to using phones to play games or browse websites deemed inappropriate for their age during COVID-19.

This decision would be difficult to implement, but we would address the difficulties first through counselling, said Tale. Although it is unclear whether children were involved, officials expressed support for the ban.

Daily “digital detox” introduced to engage adults in reading

“It is a great start to instil positive behaviours among pupils,” said young student Ashish Deshmukh. Parents were also in favour of the plan because it would allow them to keep an eye on their children. This year, a town in Maharashtra’s Sangli district instituted a daily “digital detox” to encourage adults to engage in social interaction or intellectual activities such as reading.

A siren signals the start of a 1.5-hour detox in Mohityanche Vadgaon every night at 7 p.m., during which residents put their electronics away.

Vijay Mohite, the village’s head, conceived of this concept as a one-time experiment, but as ASHA employees, social activists, and other villagers rallied around it, it spread to become a widely observed practise.

“Right now, people focus on reading, studying, writing, and talking between 7 and 8.30 p.m.,” Mohite explained. They turn off their televisions and put their cell phones away. 

He continued, “A committee has been formed on a ward-by-ward basis to keep an eye on the initiative’s execution.”

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