Staff and students react to De Montfort University’s digital detox

Students and staff members have provided positive feedback after De Montfort University launched a ‘digital detox’ last week.

All of the university’s social media channels fell silent for a period of six days – from January 16 to 21 – in a bid to improve social inclusivity and promote positive mental health.

Speaking about the initiative, first year Journalism student James Wynn said: “I’ve not really engaged with the digital detox, to be honest. Because of the fact that I study Journalism, it’s hard for me to avoid social media in the modern age, really.

“Although I can see why the university have done it and I do think it’s a really good idea. People can get too tied up in social media sites and it’s always beneficial to take a step back and pay attention to the ‘real world’ for a while.”

The university launched a range of #HealthyDMU activities to encourage everyone at the university to focus on their well-being.

Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard praised the positive impacts of the digital detox, although he conceded that his eyes have been opened to his bad social media habits.

“I’ve also realised that I do some bad things with social media. Particularly waking up first thing in the morning and the first thing I do is check my Twitter feed and late at night I scroll through and wonder why my brain is racing when I’m trying to go to sleep.

“It’s been a tremendous thing for me to do and made me think about re-calibrating my relationship with my Twitter feed. But I won’t come off Twitter completely because I see it as a wonderful source of news and I’ve really missed that.”

The detox has opened up some new hobbies to some students and staff members, with origami, mindfulness and Tai-Chi sessions well attended over the six-day detox period.

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