+
smartphone addiction, indian digital detox, maharashtra

Cellphone siesta has a ring to it—we should all be taking one.

A village in India’s Maharashtra state has had enough of two of the modern world’s greatest addictions, the internet and television. It has imposed a daily digital detox to give people a break from stress-inducing screen time so they can reconnect with the real world.

According to the BBC, a siren goes off every day at 7 p.m. in Vadgaon village in Sangli district, alerting all residents to turn off their TVs and smartphones. At 8:30 p.m., the siren blares again, letting everyone know it’s now OK to reconnect.

Vadgaon has a population of around 3,000 people, mainly composed of sugar mill workers and farmers.

The decision to implement a daily detox came after the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the village’s dependence on technology, especially its kids.





"When physical classes resumed (after Covid lockdown), teachers realized children had become lazy, they did not want to read and write and were mostly engrossed in their mobile phones before and after school hours. There weren't separate study rooms in the homes of the villagers. So, I put forth the idea of a digital detox," Vijay Mohite, president of the village council, said according to India Today.

At first, men in the village scoffed at the idea. However, the village’s women agreed that a detox would help the community after they admitted they were spending too much time watching serials on television.

"We decided at the village meeting on 14 August—the eve of India's Independence Day—that we needed to stop this addiction," Mohite told BBC. "From the next day, all television sets and mobiles were shut down when the siren went off."

The time away from screens has allowed for conversation to flourish in the village and provided children with a better environment for studying.

"The children were just not concentrating on their studies before," Dilip Mohite, a farmer with three sons, told the BBC. "Now, there is a normal conversation [at home, even] among the adults."

It’s hard to take a digital detox by yourself. Even though your phone may be off, it’s stressful knowing that others might be trying to contact you. But when people take the detox as a group, one of the biggest drawbacks to a detox—fear of missing out—goes by the wayside.

Smartphones aren’t bad in and of themselves, but when we start spending more of our lives in the digital realm instead of the real world, things can quickly get out of balance.

via Nicolas Mirguet/Flickr

Psychologist Kia-Rai Prewitt, Ph.D., explained the benefits of a digital detox to the Cleveland Clinic.

“Doing a digital detox is a great way to find out if technology is holding you back from living your best life. The results of unplugging can be far-reaching, from being more productive at work to deepening your relationships with family and friends,” Dr. Prewitt wrote. “Benefits of taking a technology timeout include sharper focus, less stress, better social interactions, more control of your time."

It’d be interesting to see if any researchers study Vadgaon village’s unique approach to technology. It could inspire other places throughout the world to incorporate their own digital siestas where we put down our phones and reconnect with the real world every day for a few hours.

Imagine living in a community where every day, at the same time, people put down their phones, turned off their TVs and played on their lawns, took their dogs for a walk, or went down to the corner bar or coffee shop for a drink. That type of interaction has to make people a lot happier than endlessly scrolling or flipping channels.

True

The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

Keep ReadingShow less

Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser for Variety's "Actors on Actors."

There are few actors in this world as universally loved as Brendan Fraser and Adam Sandler. So when the two sign on to interview one another, you can bet that people are going to be thrilled.

During one of Variety's “Actors on Actors” segments, the two swapped stories of being in the entertainment business—from the movie “Airheads," which they both starred in, to more recent projects like Sandler’s “Hustle” and Fraser’s “The Whale.”

It’s clear that these two respect and admire each other’s work. Sandler applauded Fraser’s career-long stride of making bold and interesting choices, and especially commended him for his starring role in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” which has been hailed as a major comeback for the “Mummy” franchise star.
Keep ReadingShow less

Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

Joy

13 strangers became stranded at an airport, so they set off on a road trip together

The unlikely friends went viral online after documenting their 10+ hour journey.

@alanahsotry21/TikTok

From strangers to friends in one night.

Sometimes the greatest friendships are born out of the most unlikely circumstances.

Thanks to a canceled flight, 13 complete strangers found themselves stuck at Orlando International Airport on their way to Knoxville, Tennessee, with no way to get to their destination.

What started off as a disaster quickly turned around into an impromptu adventure, as the determined group banded together to rent a minivan and drive more than 500 miles from Orlando to Knoxville. Along the way they documented their travels, and the story was quickly picked up by news outlets like CNN, spreading like wholesome viral wildfire online.


The band of merry travelers hailed from different parts of the U.S. and Mexico, and didn’t all speak the same language. Plus each had their own reason for wanting to get to Knoxville. One college student was trying to make it back in time for her final. Another was hoping to tour her dream college with her mom and dad. A well-known farming influencer was set to deliver a keynote speech at a conference. A mother wanted to go fight for custody of her son, while another woman wanted to meet a friend to help her move. Others were just there to have fun.

Regardless of their differences, their road trip created unexpected community and a memory they won't soon forget.

Keep ReadingShow less