Mental Health During Online School

Photo+Credit%3A+Prakriti+KC

Jordyn Stewart, Journalist

Photo Credit: Prakriti KC

There seems to be a strange disconnect between online and in person school regarding not only the learning aspects, but certainly mental health. Reaching out and talking to people can be difficult when it comes to being fully online: it can become almost impossible. Sometimes school is the only place people are able to socialize and learn. For many people, visual and interactive teaching is very important, so when they are online it can be much harder to learn. I’ve found that when fully online, motivation is lost, socialization is non-existent, and the need for interaction rises. 

 

Aleah Keppler talks about her struggles with online learning being primarily focused on the excessive use of technology. Keppler says, “I am [also] very worried about the impact that technology has had on everyone. Being on a screen all day is not good for your health, but it is difficult when it seems like technology is the only solution” (11th). 

 

Technology is certainly becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives with online school. Many people have found being on electronics all the time surprisingly difficult. Personally, I have found myself relying on technology even more than I used to. Technology has truly become a need over a want, which is something that I fear will shape the future. Research has shown that being on screens all day can lead to unstable moods or even anxiety and depression. Trond Harman, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Keystone Pediatrics Chambersburg states, “Isolation leads to people struggling with normal social interactions. I have seen a lot of teenagers who have many issues with a basic reciprocal conversation because they have anxiety when speaking to someone face-to-face.” It is scary to think about all of the people that are being so heavily affected by this overuse of electronics.  Especially because we are fully online and not getting face-to-face interaction. 

 

It’s hard not to feel lonely during online school. Lily Mastrangelo focuses on being an extrovert and missing the social parts of her day. Mastrangelo says, “As an extrovert, I love being in class, so online school has been a little tough socially” (11th).  School is about more than just the learning aspect. It ties into a lot of people’s social lives and social growth as a person. Without these in-person connections, it can be difficult for people to stay connected and engaged. There is always facetime and other ways of communicating virtually, but none of those platforms match up to the importance of face to face connections. It is important for people to be around others and be able to connect with them by not only speech but by touch. Hugging is one of the most important things for humans because it immediately sets off a boost of dopamine causing us to be happier. Without hugs or touch, it can be very hard for us to remain happy. 

 

That said, the online program at Niwot has been really good for students overall. Having classes where we can still communicate with one another even on the screen is extremely beneficial. Aleah Keppler talks about the benefits of break out groups and FaceTime. She says, “Many teachers have also worked on creating more group projects online where we are split up into WebEx groups with other students. This helps resolve some of the isolation that many students, including myself, have felt during this time.” 

 

During these hard times, it is important to stay positive and appreciate every small thing that brings you joy! 

For more information, check out this website: https://keystonehealth.org/blog/effect-electronics-mental-health/