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
"The old hostel culture of camaraderie and socializing among students
is gone. This is not healthy in our opinion."
IIT-Mumbai, with about 5,000 students, is one of seven IITs across
India which are considered to be among the finest engineering schools in
the world. They are also a talent pool for global technology giants.
But their exacting
curriculum, tough competition and reclusive campus lifestyle have taken a
toll on students.
Depressive and dysfunctional lifestyles are known to be common among
IIT students, and at least nine have committed suicide in the past five
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,"
But the move has not gone
down well with students who say they hate their lives
"Now they will say we need to listen to a lullaby to go to sleep," said Rajiv, an