Addiction to social media affects the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots, as they are being deprived of adequate sleep for flying duty, said Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall B.S. Dhanoa on Friday.
"Much dependence on social media is taking away interpersonal and communication skills of our pilots. Earlier, if a pilot had too many drinks, the bar man would know. If he did not notice, others would know and the affected pilot would be laid off flying for the day. We need a system that can tell us if a pilot has been sleep deprived," Dhanoa said at a conference in Bengaluru.
Inaugurating the 57th annual conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine in Bengaluru, Dhanoa told the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) to develop a method to ascertain if a pilot was deprived of mandatory sleep.
"Getting hooked to social media like Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for long hours in the night was making pilots sleep late and less than required for flying. The IAM should find a method to de-addict the pilots of social media," reiterated Dhanoa.
As flight briefings are held very early in the day (around 6:00 a.m.) when the ambient temperature is above 40 degree Celsius, the pilots have to sleep early overnight and rest enough to be fresh and alert for flying sorties.
"We need to have more filters and mechanisms developed to deal with the excessive usage of social media, leading to anxiety and health issues," added Dhanoa.
"I request doctors to find a quick solution for the problem," he noted.
On the role of IAF in selecting and training astronauts for the manned mission in 2021-22 under the human space programme, the Air Chief said the IAM would be involved in their selection of astronauts and their health.
"Aerospace medicine specialist is the best friend of the air crew in the field," added the Air Chief.
Addressing the nation on the Independence Day (August 15) from the Red Fort in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to put Indians in the space orbit around the earth in the next 4 years.