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

By Luke Pawley

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


Journalism students Samuel Gill and Andre Sobol ignore their mobiles to engage in the art of conversation.

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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