Media in the Covid-19 Era

As the coronavirus grew from a far-away crisis to a worldwide pandemic, we were able to see the way media truly affects our world. The view I had on media a month ago was that it was a big – but not dominant – part of our lives, but now it is the only thing in our lives. As COVID-19 shut down most of the world, we are forced to shelter in place, and sanitize and clean everything. Without the face-to-face interactions that offset the need for media, we are forced to focus on media for our interactions: a quote from “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” says, “When I ask teenagers why they joined MySpace, the answer is simple: ‘Cuz that’s where my friends are.’” (Boyd p. 9) Though this comes from 2002, the principle stays the same: we are now more reliant on media than ever before because the virus has wiped out day-to-day and face-to-face interactions. We as a society have strived to make the media we use during this period more personable, but nothing can replace the in-person interactions. The effect of solely media-based interactions can have on a generation is staggering, and especially to a generation that has had more mental health problems than any generation before it (based on an article published by the American Psychological Association) on top of the economical and societal effects. As a generation who depends on the help of friends to get them through tough times, being quarantined with possibly oppressive or overbearing parents, with only being able to call or facetime friends, does not have the same effect.

Bethune, S. (2019, January). Gen Z more likely to report mental health concerns. Monitor on Psychology50(1).

Boyd, Danah. (2007) “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics
in Teenage Social Life.” MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital
Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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