Covid-19 and the Transition to a “Virtual” Reality
The dependence on technology amidst the Pandemic.
In March 2020, the entire nation went on lockdown with the world in the grasp of the coronavirus pandemic. From that time to the present day, we have continued to rely on technology for work, entertainment, and keeping in touch with our loved ones from a distance.
With the world impacted by Covid-19 and its variants, technology serves us to help maintain the “life” we once had pre-pandemic. Despite how advanced technology was in 2020, we weren’t nearly as reliant on it until we had to move to a completely digital way of life. At the start of the pandemic, social distancing was and still is the best way at slowing the spread of Covid-19. Since we have to be away from our loved ones, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or whichever video platform you use was the best and safest way we could be connected during such a tumultuous time.
New York was one of the first states to be completely locked down. We were under PAUSE for about 3 months so only essential workers could return to their jobs in person. We were instructed to stay in our homes and we could only be out to get basic necessities. Given these circumstances, a lot of companies went from working in the office to a work from home status. Working from home pushed the need for reliable digital platforms in order for employees to communicate effectively within the company. This transition to a more digital workplace was nice for some but affected those who weren’t as tech-savvy. While some were fortunate enough to work from home, others were not. People like me, whose work relied on being in person, got laid off and had to file for unemployment. As a result, I personally had a lot of time on my hands to self-reflect and be productive… starting with entertainment!
Since we were restricted to the luxury of going out and spending time with our loved ones and friends, we looked to streaming services and social media to keep us entertained. I remember going through Netflix, Hulu, HBOMax, and DisneyPlus to stream and watch what seemed like every movie that has ever existed on this planet. Let’s not forget how much TikTok blew up, which took up hours and hours of my day. The mentality was that we had so much time on our hands, especially with being unemployed, that we would want to spend time with our friends for entertainment, but since we couldn’t do that, we had to use social media to keep in touch with everyone instead.
The reliance on technology, specifically social media, has changed the way in which we go about our everyday lives. For example, I know myself to reach for my phone first thing in the morning. I check all of my socials and check my emails and news. Now during the pandemic, the typical workplace has a hybrid method in which they go in the office a certain amount of days and work from home the remaining days. However, even if you do go into work, you are most likely doing zoom meetings with other members of your team.
Another example is virtual learning for the new generation. When my sisters were in elementary school, they distributed Google Chromebooks to students. This decision was made to help kids get used to online learning and as we all know, textbooks are a thing of the past. Now that my sisters are in high school, their reliance on online learning begins to become a concern. When we were only given textbooks and paper assignments, it was harder to cheat (not saying that I did, I was too anxious for that). Now the dependency of googling an answer while you do an assignment online inhibits their ability to truly learn the content in a course. Although kids are a lot more tech-savvy and familiar with Microsoft and Google suites, their ability to learn actual content suffers.
As a result of Covid-19, our society has become increasingly reliant and intertwined with technology. It only makes sense that the more technology advances, the more reliant we’ll become. I know for myself, I’ve grown an addiction to checking my phone almost every 5–10 minutes and I’ve seen this addiction grow not only in people my age but also my parents and their generation.
Despite how reliant our society is on technology, this growth in dependency allows us to learn how to utilize it to our advantage and it pushes us towards a more efficient lifestyle!