IIT banned students from accessing Internet to go more social

IIT Mumbai has blocked its students from using Internet during pre-determined time period of about 1.5 hours in a day. According to authorities, students had stopped socializing and many were late for morning classes or slept through them. Here is the news excerpt –


Stop surfing, make friends, Indian students told


One of India’s top engineering schools has restricted Internet access in its hostels, saying addiction to surfing, gaming and blogging was affecting students’ performance, making them reclusive and even suicidal.


Authorities at the elite Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai said students had stopped socializing and many were late for morning classes or slept through them.


“Now, a student doesn’t even know who lives two doors away from him because he is so busy on the Internet,” said Prakash Gopalan, dean of student affairs.


“The old hostel culture of camaraderie and socializing among students is gone. This is not healthy in our opinion.”


Depression and dysfunctional lifestyles are known to be common among IIT students, and at least nine have committed suicide in the past five years. IIT-Mumbai has seen two suicides in two years and several attempts.


Students have unlimited free Internet access in their hostel rooms to help them in their studies, but many also use it to surf, chat, download movies and music, blog and for gaming.


Starting Monday, Internet access will be barred between 11 p.m. and 12.30 p.m. at IIT-Mumbai’s 13 hostels to encourage students to sleep early and to try and force them out of their “shells”, Gopalan said.


“There has been a decline in academic performance and also participation in sporting, cultural and social activities has gone down,” he said.


Student anger has also spilled on to several blogs run by IIT alumni where bloggers say “the birth of the virtual world had led to the death of the real selves”, but add that they resent regulation of students’ activities.


Techdirt has written about this news and referred to it as another “blame the Internet” effort. But according to me, it is right stand taken at the right stage to make people more social than isolating themselves and making themselves slave to the virtual world. Moreover 1.5 hours isn’t too much of time to remain out of touch from Internet otherwise, if not now, later you will realize that you are an addict rather than a geek.

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