Commentary: Technology can also help the older generations cope with social distancing

A sparsely attended Laguna Beach City Council meeting Tuesday is evidence of the social distancing in place throughout the region as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.
(Courtesy, city of Laguna Beach)

Social distancing is a term commonly used to describe an approach for combating the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. People are told to stay home and avoid social interactions to try to reduce the spread of this highly contagious disease.

This term should be redefined as “physical distancing” because complete social isolation is not the solution. We should make sure to be 6 feet apart from people and stay home as best we can, but we shouldn’t lose contact with the outside world. We should partake in phone and video calls as often as we can to prevent loneliness and depression from prevailing during these tough times.

Let’s redefine social distancing as connecting socially from a safe distance. Although social isolation could be the most effective solution to stopping the spread of the virus, it comes with consequences, most notably a rise in mental illness.

Maintaining connections and a sense of community is still just as important as it was before our advised lockdowns. Kids are stuck at home and have been stripped of their biggest source of social interaction: school.

Many kids make up for this deficit with technology. Kids partake in daily video calls with their friends and even some of their teachers to keep them sane.

Unfortunately, this isn’t common among older generations. Those who are giving in to social isolation rather than just merely physical isolation, are in danger of numerous health risks including anxiety, depression and detachment from the outside world.

It is easier for older generations to gradually become more lonely during this constrained time because they aren’t as adept at connecting through technology as many kids and young adults.

The novel coronavirus has caused many socioeconomic problems throughout the world, but some good has come from it. It has lowered stress levels among teens due to less work and an opportunity for more sleep. It has provided families with the gift of time in order to grow and create stronger bonds.

It has brought out the good in so many, and we continue to see millions of people willing to work toward a common goal to flatten the curve of the pandemic. It has challenged schools and people by forcing them to adapt and learn how to operate in a completely new way, primarily through technology.

As they close their campuses to fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, public and private schools have moved to distance learning, providing online classwork and other materials for students as they stay at home. Here’s how families are making the transition.

Previous studies show the consequences of increased technology, especially among teens. However, community is one of the most important things in life, especially during times of struggle like these, so anything that allows us to achieve this is incredibly important.

We can call and Facetime our grandparents and let them know we are here for them, continue to Zoom for our classes and meetings and to spread awareness.

In times of crisis and chaos, humanity’s true nature is shown. Let us join together to fight for those who need our help and recognize that we all have a common goal: to stay connected and to assist those who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Keep your family and friends close at heart and stay connected.

The writer is a junior at Corona del Mar High School.