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Digital detox

Editorial CAITLYN SAMPLEY AGGIE


The government of Jammu and Kashmir has again extended the ongoing ‘corona curfew’. And going by the way the COVID-19 pandemic is raging on, it is highly unlikely that we may see any relaxation in the lockdown even after May 17, when the current curfew ends. The number of deaths and cases is rising each day. In fact, daily caseload has already breached the once unthinkable number of 5,000 in J&K. On Saturday, 60 more people succumbed to the virus that is wreaking havoc across India, killing over 4000 people every day. The number of fatalities is way more considering that all dying of the virus do not make it to the official figures. In fact, a research quoted by Lancet in its recent editorial shows that on an average, around 10,000 people dying of the virus in India each day. Simply put, the situation is horrific as India struggles with the biggest health crisis ever. Streets are mostly deserted and people are compelled to stay indoors. As a result of it, people are spending more time on the digital world and consuming far more information and data they would have otherwise. While remaining up to date is okay, it is not a secret anymore that we have been receiving too much of information from too many corners on COVID-19. There is already anything out there in the Indian and world mediascape that does not pertain to coronavirus. It is simply mind boggling to be in the middle of this ocean of data, facts, and news banging on one’s head every second in the same of social media posts, news feed, pictures, and videos. There is a dire need to detoxify our minds and engage is something that pulls us out of this quagmire. Hence, it would not be an over-statement if one suggests that people switch off the internet on their phones, keep them away for some time, and engage in household chores, or play with their kids for most part of the day. Of course, people must ensure following all the Covid SOPs. But within homes, it is possible to isolate yourself from the media for time-being and not be updated with the number of deaths and cases taking place every day. These figures have a very adverse impact on our psyche and that of our children. Experts in human psychology and psychiatry say that people should avoid social media and instead follow SOPs to maintain good mental health. It is better to think over the things which are under our control. We all know that it is an unprecedented situation, however, there are still many avenues within our homes where we can at least behave normally. As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern in the population at large and among certain groups in particular, such as older adults, care providers and people with underlying health conditions. In public mental health terms, the main psychological impact to date is elevated rates of stress or anxiety. But as new measures and impacts are introduced – especially quarantine and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines or livelihoods – levels of loneliness, depression, and self-harm or suicidal behaviour are also expected to rise.