Chetana – transforming lives through positive digital wellness

Over April, Team OLS undertook an epic 4,537-mile walking, running, and cycling challenge to raise money for three amazing charities that do so much to improve people’s mental health in a digital world. Read on to learn more about one of these charities, Chetana.

Last month we set ourselves the challenge to walk, run, and cycle 4,537 miles to raise well-deserved funds for three brilliant charities, one of which is Chetana. Based in Aurangabad, India, Chetana was formed in 2012 to destigmatise mental and emotional health and educate about digital wellness.

We sat down with Vikas IngleProject Manager at Chetana, to learn more about the charity and the wider issues they’re trying to solve, as well as find out their top tips for maintaining positive digital wellness.

So, what is Chetana’s ‘why’? 

India ranks second globally in internet usage, a trend driven by rapid technological advancements. However, this increased accessibility to addictive technologies among young people raises concerns. The widespread usage of mobile phones has resulted in addiction among adolescents and young people, negatively impacting their mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. This dependence on technology can also lead to decreased productivity, disrupted sleep patterns, and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

The ubiquitous nature of digital media and subsequent digital dependence in young people means that managing screen usage requires adaptable strategies, including those tailored to different age groups' needs. Additionally, many users may not recognise excessive screen time as a problem, emphasising the need for ongoing support structures.

In response to these issues, Chetana established comprehensive programmes focusing on digital wellness and awareness for school children and young people, which have been running since 2019. These programmes aim to encourage mobile deaddiction, foster digital wellbeing, and mitigate the negative consequences of excessive mobile phone use. Chetana focuses on research-driven improvement, empowering self-awareness, and developing tailored solutions for different age groups. Through initiatives like awareness workshops, webinars, counselling sessions, personalised wellness solutions, and even doctor referrals, Chetana has positively impacted thousands of lives, empowering individuals to develop healthier relationships with technology and promoting lasting change. 

Looking ahead, the future of digital wellness appears promising, marked by a growing awareness, technology specially designed for wellbeing, and a focus on preventative care. By making informed choices and cultivating a balanced relationship with technology, as well as having the right support, individuals can navigate the digital world more mindfully, leading to healthier, more balanced lives.

Chetana’s top tips for digital wellness

  • Track your time. Use habit trackers or apps to monitor social media usage.
  • Visualise your progress. Create weekly charts to track and celebrate decreases in screen time.
  • Create tech-free zones. Hang inspirational posters to remind yourself to disconnect.
  • Take social media sabbaticals. Challenge yourself to a half-day social media detox once a week and plan engaging real-world activities to spend time offline.
  • Be cautious. Avoid accepting friend requests from strangers and be careful about clicking on unknown links.
  • Talk to someone you trust. Go to a trusted person who can offer help if you’re worried about something or if you’ve seen something that made you feel uncomfortable.
  • Support a friend who’s struggling. Start a conversation, listen without judgment, ask open-ended questions, and offer support.
  • Use screen time wisely. Balance screen time with real-life activities, stay safe online and enjoy the real world.

We hope this shines some light on all the incredible work Chetana is doing. Although April has ended, it’s not too late to donate! You can learn more about our challenge and make a last-minute donation on our Just Giving page. Additionally, check out this blog to read about Gamers Beat Cancer, one of our other chosen charities. Thank you for your continued support!