Mumbai’s Sikh community tackles mobile phone addiction among members
According to international studies, around 20% of teenagers are addicted to mobile phones, the highest among any section of society.Updated: May 05, 2018 23:30 IST
Manprit Singh, a resident of Sion, would carry his cell phone along with him, even when visiting the washroom, but after members of the Sikh community conducted a survey on mobile phone addiction as a part of their Baisakhi celebrations, he acknowledged that he needed to reduce the time he spent with the device.
“I would take my cell phone to the toilet and end up wasting time there. It was after the survey that I realised that I am a heavy user, which is why I decided to cut down on mobile usage,” Singh said.
Like Singh, there were 364 other people who were part of the survey which was conducted two weeks ago. Now, the organisers intend to conduct a seminar to discuss the process of ‘deaddiction to cell phones’, and the individual findings of the report will be shared with those who were a part of the exercise.
“What we intend to do is take this drive on a national level by reaching out to our sister organisations in other parts of the country after the seminar is conducted. It isn’t a community-specific issue, but one which everybody is facing lately,” said Sawarandeep Singh, a volunteer from Jammu, who was a part of the team which conducted the survey.
Psychiatrist Dr Darpan Kaur, who was instrumental in putting forth the initiative, said that according to international studies, around 20% of teenagers are addicted to mobile phones, the highest among any section of society.
“Though everyone knows that there is a thing like internet addiction, it is not really labelled as a disorder, and there is additional research still being done in the field. Since it is not considered a disorder, there are no medicines available for it independently, unless one talks about addiction, with depression or other psychological conditions in tow,” Kaur said.
She pointed out that in China, to curb the growing dependence on technology, a study has suggested that gaming time be limited to three hours.
Raghbir Singh Gill, President of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Mumbai (Dadar Gurudwara), the apex body of gurudwaras in Mumbai, said that as a future course of action, they intend to issue advisories in schools and other religious places which will speak about the perils of excessive use of cell phones.
“On the community level we have a reward system, wherein kids are asked to indulge in sports or community activities to keep them away from cell phones. In fact, we are speaking to parents to find ways to distract kids and give them limited access to technology,” said Gill.
Balbeer Singh, a member of Sewak Jatha Dadar, a socio-religious organisation, now switches of his cell phone at night and has asked that ‘only emergency calls’ be made to his wife’s contact number.
“As a family, what one can do is just carry one or two phones when at a gathering, in case of emergencies, so that one can spend quality time with people rather than being on the cell phone. A lot of my friends have been doing that lately,” said Balbeer.
“Just as we have a break from our jobs over the weekend, similarly, I do not use my cell phone on my days off because that is the time I get to go for movies with my family and spend time with my kids,” said Gurmeet Singh, manager at a private company.
Dr Sagar Mundada, psychiatrist, said in the last three years he has had one or two patients visiting on a daily basis who suffer from problems because of excessive use of cell phones.
“There isn’t a thing called mobile addiction, it is more of internet addiction. But, lately there has been an increase in the number of people who have sleep disorders, digital amnesia and impulse control disorder, which is because of excessive use of cell phones. If on a community level there is an awareness created regarding it, then it is a welcome step,” said Mundada.