Lights, Cameras, Zoom: Students should turn their cameras on for classes


Camera or not? Some students choose to have their cameras off during zoom calls.

Kaitlyn McClearen, Opinion Writer

Going back to school is always nerve racking as we start to wonder, who will I have classes with? What will my teachers be like? How hard will my classes be? On top of all the regular back-to-school things you would normally worry about, now you also have to deal with everything technology-wise, including the fact that it is requested or required by most teachers and the principal to have our cameras on.

Students have many valid reasons for not wanting to turn on their camera. Maybe they don’t feel like putting in the effort to look good on camera or don’t like being on camera in general. But what if we were actually going back to school? All of the people you are on Zoom calls with would be seeing you in person. And they could see all of you, which isn’t shown on Zoom calls.

Personally, I don’t always like having my camera on, but I never mind turning it on so my teacher can see that I am listening and am actually on the Zoom call. Consider the teachers. How would you feel if you had to teach to a blank screen with 20 to 30 teens listening? Having your camera on and showing your face so they can read your facial expressions and showing that you are in fact listening will make them feel a little better too. Zoom calls are also way more enjoyable when people have their cameras on and are actively participating in discussions. Having your camera on is also good for identification purposes and to prevent hackers or internet trolls. How do you know that the people who are actually supposed to be in that class are there when their cameras are off?

When asking other West Forsyth Students their opinion on if the camera policy was unfair, the vast majority said it was. Most didn’t want their face showing, and some said they wanted privacy, not having to worry about what others see.

We are in our own homes, and sometimes we would like a little privacy. We can’t always predict what family members or pets might be doing while we are on a Zoom call, or our own emotions that might get the best of us. Trying to keep your camera on for the majority of the time is what’s important. Teachers will know you are there and won’t necessarily worry too much when you do need to turn off your camera. We all have those moments where we do need our cameras to be off, and turning them off for a minute or two usually is, or should be, okay with our teachers.

Nobody wanted to do online school in the first place. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Turn your cameras on, if not to participate, then to help make your teachers feel better about having to run and teach in the virtual classroom. A Zoom call is always better when you show your face and participate.