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Many welcome Goa IT minister Rohan Khaunte’s statement on digital detoxification amongst students

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Panaji:  Information and Technology Minister Rohan Khaunte’s statement on digital detoxification of the students is welcomed by the parents, academicians, medical professionals and tech experts.

“The overuse and misuse of gadgets by students is something that we need to counter. Proper thinking and planning should be done at Education Institutional level,” commented renowned academician Narayan Desai, reacting to the statement of the minister.

Khaunte on Friday had said “parents must stop treating smartphones as rewards for children and let them know that it was just a gadget to tide over COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on regular schooling.”

Desai said that the parents and students cannot shun the gadgets completely as new educational policy (NEP) speaks of using multimedia and make the child self learner. “The NEP insists that the child should be gadget savvy,”he said pointing out that COVID-19 has led to several disasters and students overusing mobiles for their schooling is one of them.

Desai said that the teachers and parents should come together to find a way out by involving the IT and professionals into finding a solution.

Sanchita Pai Raikar, one of the parent, said that is becoming next to impossible for the parents to snatch mobile phones from the children. “Since the time, online education has become a norm, the children have their own gadget and they are indulged with it throughout,” she said adding that parental control is almost nil over it.

Renowned medical professional Dr Shekhar Salkar said that many of the parents have started approaching psychologists to find out a solution on how to reduce usage of mobile phones by their children.

“Everyone fully agrees that there is need for digital detoxification. It is a good thing that the thought is coming from the government but who will actually do it is a question. Who will bell the cat?,” he commented.

Goa Technology Association (GTA), an umbrella organization of all the technology related industries, has said that the minister has raised the right issue at right time.

“Winning a level of a video game and getting “likes” on a picture, releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain, just like drinking alcohol or using drugs does. Over time, we begin to crave this dopamine release, which compels us to use technology and internet enabled devices even more,” said GTA President Milind Anvekar.

He said that while dopamine isn’t the sole cause of addiction, its motivational properties are thought to play a role in addiction. “The reward center in your brain releases dopamine in response to pleasurable experiences. This part of your brain is also closely linked to memory and motivation,” he added.

Anvekar said that the Technology can make us lazy and unproductive due to its added conveniences, keeping us from unlocking our full potential. Social media and mobile devices may lead to eyestrain and difficulty in focusing on important tasks.  “The overuse of technology may have a more significant impact on developing children and teenagers,” he added.

Suggesting a solution, Anvekar said “We can potentially try and break a digital addiction by turning off push notifications, schedule times to check your phone, or at least be mindful about it,  use a timer to block your usage, replace smartphone use with something you value and don’t take your phone to bed.”

“It is not fair to only blame children as they are growing up seeing and understanding that the phone is the most important thing. It is upto the parents to sort themselves first. Soon the schools will need to introduce subject on responsible technology usage. We as a society and state needs to build policy which will focus on human development in true sense rather than heading towards a virtual world,” he added.

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