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USM PENANG, 31 January 2024 - As we navigate the digital landscape, a pressing issue emerges – Digital Depression, fueled by factors like the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FoMO) and ‘Unrealistic Beauty Standards’ (UBS) online, significantly impacting mental health.

FoMO extends beyond the desire to be where the fun is; it's linked to the feeling of fatigue from excessive social media use. Those seemingly harmless, flawless filtered photos contribute to young people feeling less confident about their natural appearance, creating a ripple effect on their self-perception.

With an increasing number of individuals grappling with symptoms of depression and anxiety, addressing this issue is not just an option; it's a necessity.

The School of Communication (SOC) Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) recently marked a successful campaign of the final ‘Reboot’ campaign, an initiative aimed at raising awareness about the issue of digital depression.

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Organised by the School’s Persuasive Communication Final-Year Students, the comprehensive campaign spanned two months, featuring various programmes designed to foster awareness and encourage mindful digital practices.

With the aim to foster awareness, encourage mindful digital practices, and contribute to a healthier and more balanced relationship with technology in the community, the campaign sought to contribute to a healthier and more balanced relationship with technology within the community.

Held at Lecture Hall U (DKU) USM, the closing ceremony was officiated by USM SOC Dean, Associate Professor Dr. Bahiyah Omar.

In her closing speech, Bahiyah Omar acknowledged the campaign's significance in addressing a pressing concern in today's technology-dominated age.

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"Reflect on the collective impact made through initiating conversations, raising awareness, and sowing the seeds of positive change,” she said.

She also added by saying that the success of the 'Reboot' campaign does not only reflect academic excellence but also showcases their commitment towards making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Meanwhile, ‘Reboot’ Project Director, Elangkoven Nair highlighted the remarkable engagement, thoughtful conversations, and growing awareness of digital well-being achieved through the programme.

‘Reboot: The Last Station' marked the end of the campaign, as Elangkoven Nair emphasised that the issues of digital depression and mental health persist beyond the ceremony.

“The commitment towards advocating for mental well-being, promoting responsible digital usage, and supporting one another in times of need must endure,” she said.

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“As we close this chapter, let us carry forward the lessons learned, the friendships forged, and the spirit of ‘Reboot’. Let this campaign be a reminder that in a world increasingly dominated by screens, our mental health and personal connections matter more than ever,” added Elangkoven Nair.

The closing ceremony featured a forum session with Befrienders Vice-Chairman, Saras Pillay and other special guest speakers.

Also included at the same event were musical performances and the announcement of winners for the video and poster competitions, adding an engaging and celebratory atmosphere to the occasion.

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi

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