What is Zoom doing to our psyche?

When the pandemic began to spread around the world everyone had to abruptly make a detour from their regularly scheduled programs. Everything was cancelled and people were stuck in their homes with no where to turn but online. There was virtual school, remote work, and online doctors appointments. Then came the Zoom birthday parties and Zoom happy hours, an arts-and-crafts nights and game nights and holiday celebrations with friends and family all thankfully made possible by Zoom.

Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

But what is all this added screen time doing to our mind and bodies? A new host of depression and anxiety issues have also spiked during this pandemic and it is effecting the younger generation as well.

When people are interacting through screens, it takes more emotional effort to appear interested. Sustained eye contact and focus on what the speaker is saying is exhausting more so than if you were in real life. Trying to gauge body language and social cues is much harder through a screen. Silence during a conversation in real life is a natural occurrence but in a Zoom call it can bring on more anxiousness. Also staring at your own face during conversations is exhausting and unnatural.

Zoom had a 2,091.94% increase during the pandemic.

I learned that by stumbling across this graph from SEMRush. It shows how Zoom began as the lowest visited site on the chart in the beginning to 2020 and went on to sky rocket in traffic as the pandemic kept things shut down. The largest gain of internet traffic during the year for any website.

With all these new virtual users, cracks in emotional well being in children is also on the rise. A Patricia Perez, PhD a child development specialist from Chicago has seen children become uninterested in school because of Zoom classes. Depression, anxiety and eating disorders are also on the rise in our high school even elementary youth.

The implications of the shutdown will not be known for many more months and even years. Zoom was a blessing in that it allowed us to be in touch with friends, family and work remotely. Now that the pandemic is coming to an end how will Zoom play a part in our lives? Are we all Zoomed out or will this type of virtual interaction become common place?

Only time will tell.

Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash