By: Jade Dorley
The day is January 1, 2020. Everyone is ringing in the New Year with their friends, family and loved ones. Little did we know about the impending doom that was about to befall us in the months to come: the coronavirus pandemic. It is now September 2020 and the pandemic may have slowed in other countries, but it is still raging in America. There are over 6 million cases of coronavirus, a number that is a new milestone, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and a number that is still growing. America has the highest number of cases in the world. It is amazing how countries like North Korea and Turkmenistan have zero Covid-19 cases, that’s right zero, but the U.S. seems to be the only country in the world still struggling with this virus at a disastrously large rate. From people not wearing their masks, to huge crowds without physical distancing, there are so many reasons that Americans are catching coronavirus. This pandemic won’t get under control and things won’t get better here because a lot of people don't follow basic safety precautions to stay healthy. Until then, we have to mostly stay indoors and rely on technology for everything to avoid contact with the people and things we want or need.
As devastating as this may sound, it is our new reality. And in this new reality, everyone has turned to technology as a necessity. Whether it be a Zoom conference for work or a Facetime session with your best friends, technology has become an essential part of everyone’s life now. Most big and small tech companies around the world are scrambling to update and think of new innovative technologies that would be beneficial to everyone during this pandemic. Meanwhile, other companies are just racking up their profits during the pandemic from what people were already using such as Spotify and Netflix. So many people were ordering from Amazon that they had to prioritize the shipping of essential items like medical supplies. Netflix has earned almost 15.8 million new subscribers and that was only during the first half of the pandemic.
People are getting so used to doing things online now, that they may continue to do everything virtually in the future mostly because it is convenient. The technological advances during this time are not only convenient, they are useful. From contactless food delivery to Covid-19 tracking apps, we have reached an age where we basically have everything we need at our fingertips. Also, more and more people have access to technology now than previously. It’s like that Disney movie “WALL-E,” but maybe without the hovering chairs.
The thing about having everything at our fingertips is that could make us lazy. People could slack off at work because there isn’t a supervisor hovering over them. People may succumb to unhealthy habits like consistently eating junk food or not completing their weekly workouts. In addition to building bad habits, the amount of screen time people absorb daily can be harmful to your eyes and overall health. Not all technological devices have a blue light filter, which protects you from eye-straining and all the negative effects that come with blue light (i.e. lack of sleep, etc). Now that everyone is using technology almost constantly, this can be detrimental to your health unless you invest in a blue light filter or just try to limit the amount of time spent on your devices.
In all honesty, I admire the technological advancements being made in the world today during this pandemic and how access to this technology has expanded so much. Now that so many people have access to technology, they can use their voices through the internet and other tools to raise awareness on issues and things that matter to them. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement is getting global attention and you can see protest videos all over the news and social media. To see people making each other aware of things that matter is an amazing development.
However, I do not think it is good for everyone to constantly stay inside and work on their computer, not just because it is bad for your health. Even if it’s not for work and you are just scrolling through social media, to do so for hours on end because you’re bored could become harmful. Social media in excessive amounts is understood to worsen mental health and self-esteem. I think we should keep goals to do activities that prioritize our physical and mental wellness. Things like going for a walk (with your mask, in case you cross paths with someone), a physically-distanced meetup with a friend, or getting a pet to spend time with can be fun. It’s a big world out there and although we are still in a pandemic, there are so many things that you can do now. But just note that if it’s online, try to limit your screen time because when you’re always looking down, you’re missing what’s around.