Online learning and its social impact

A graphic of zoom, the platform that most teachers are using for their online meetings.

Online Photo

A graphic of zoom, the platform that most teachers are using for their online meetings.

Lee Krebs, Opinion Writer

The world is more digital now than ever before. Coronavirus has condemned us to a life of solitude, but how bad is it, really? With so many forms of communication, it shouldn’t be too hard to stay in touch with your friends, however, social interactions are taking a hit despite the existence of texting.

Unless your teacher requires it, you probably don’t have your camera on during Zoom meetings. Not being able to see other people can create a sense of loneliness. While you could always leave it on, some students are uncomfortable with that as they don’t like seeing themselves on camera. Many teachers have already commented on how they don’t like the feeling of talking to themselves. You might not participate in class, but the ability to see someone makes a world of a difference. It creates a feeling that you aren’t alone. Being in-person makes it easier to ask for help and discuss things with your peers, but learning over Zoom calls makes that infinitely harder.

That’s not to mention the effect this can have on younger students, who require much more care and activity. In your younger years, most of what you’re learning is based on social interactions, and you can’t discuss things or make friends nearly as easily over Zoom calls. It could also make it much more difficult to pay attention. Elementary schooler (and my younger cousin) Helen Krebs states that while she hasn’t had too much trouble keeping friendships, she finds it hard to stay in one spot for multiple hours.

Junior student Kay Pendergrass comments on how quarantine has affected her and her younger brother, in regards to their social lives.

“[Josh is] a very outgoing kid,” Pendergrass says, “he needs to have some contact with people outside. Since he hasn’t really gotten that outside of family, he’s been rowdy and a handful at home.” She goes on to say how it has affected her personally.

“I don’t really talk to anyone anymore. I’ve lost a lot of friends thanks to [the pandemic.]”

“She doesn’t mind the structure, but she doesn’t like sitting bored in front of a screen for 6 or 7 hours. She does anyway, but she doesn’t like being forced to,” Ramona Angle commented on behalf of her sister, Ava Angle.

People’s lives have changed drastically due to quarantine and online learning. While some people have been able to seamlessly transition to the digital world, others haven’t been so lucky. My advice to help you with that sense of loneliness is if you’re scrolling through Instagram or your contacts, and you see someone you haven’t talked to in a while, send them a message. Call them. Get an update on their life; see what new interests they have. Theirs might even align with your own. Reconnecting with good people is always nice, and sometimes, that person might really need it.