BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR)– Virginia Tech is on a mission to help students and faculty unplug, and learn how to have healthy relationships with technology and social media.

The campus is being recognized as the “First Certified Digitally-Well University.”

“Whenever I don’t want to study anymore. I’ll like to go on Instagram or Snapchat and be on there for hours,” said Bianca Campos, a Biomedical Engineering Student.

Another student said they had issues with technology and procrastination.

According to the 2021 National College Health Assessment, about three-quarters of students blamed their lack of sleep, focus, and productivity on technology overload.

It’s not a new or original problem, according to Assistant Director of Hokie Wellness, Laurie Fritsch, which is why she started tackling this issue on Virginia Tech’s campus back in 2017.

“I created a program called unwind offline, I knew that digital well-being was something that needed to be elevated on campus, on all college campuses,” said Fritsch.

In partnership with digital wellness expert, and author of “Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World,” Christina Crook, ‘JOMO’ (Joy of Missing Out) was created on campus.

“It’s a multi-year well-being campaign to improve students’ well-being. We started with two four-week pilots where students were challenged to change their phone habits,” said Cook.

‘JOMO’ signs were put up around campus, teaching students the purpose of digital wellness.
Cell phone boxes were also placed around campus, where students are able to leave their phones while having lunch, studying, or hanging out with friends.

Crook explains 73.8 percent of participating students reported a behavior change.

“I was finding better ways to stay off my phone, and it helped me stay off of certain social media apps a little bit easier while I was in it, and it has improved my life,” said Caiden Davenport, a Freshman majoring in Civil Engineering.

Another student Riley Krason said being digitally well is about finding a healthier balance between using technology and enjoying life, and not about getting rid of technology entirely.

Digital wellness day is on May 5, Crook and Fritsch said there will be a live webinar for people to learn more information.