COVID-19 Distress and Social Media
Updated: Oct 21, 2022
More time at home during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown has meant more time hooked to a screen for many youths. People spend more time sustaining online connectivity when face-to-face communication is limited, likely increasing the risk of addictive social media usage. While investigating the usage of social media sites during the lockdown, I came across a student who had shared her experiences. She provided me with information on how social media sites are helping her during her lockdown period, and her experiences with some of its negative aspects. To help spread her message, I interviewed her over Zoom.
We began by discussing how often she uses social media sites in her daily life. “I use social media sites most of the time. I used to use social media before; however, spending time has increased dramatically nowadays. With all the time spent at home doing nothing, I found using my phone to be a pleasant escape.” She continued by explaining that if there were no phone, internet, or social media sites, her studies would also be affected because of this lockdown. Due to having all these online sites and social connections her studies are going smoothly. “My participation in social media sites has also increased more; I make more videos in Tiktok and chat with my friends and family through Facebook. These activities have provided me a source of happiness, and even help me forget about the pandemic a little. I like to sing and dance, and in order to continue this during the stay at home orders, I started making Tiktok videos and have even started my own YouTube channel. Before lockdown, I did not have time for all these things; however, during lockdown because of social media sites, I could work on practicing my interests and talents.”
I then asked her if she knew about the negative aspects of using social media sites excessively. She answered that she has experienced several negative consequences of excessive use of both social media sites and other online sources of entertainment, namely her addiction to them. “I feel I am becoming addicted, like I watch movies the whole night and sleep during the daytime. Because of the lockdown, I have no other work to do, so instead I look at social media sites, which is making me lazy. I also have a lot more difficulty when trying to concentrate on my studies, because I am always thinking about making TikTok videos and watching movies.” She also mentioned that her relationship with her family has worsened, as she likes to spend most of her time on her phone.
I ended the interview by asking if she was concerned with her situation, and whether she had adopted measures to overcome her excessive use of social media sites. She answered with a smile, “I know that this habit has affected my life a lot. I can stay happy during lockdown because of social media sites; however, they can also negatively impact my mental health. I am trying to implement several measures in my life to engage more with my family members during lockdown instead of using social media sites all the time. I started doing gardening with my family, and have planted several flowers and vegetables. We also purchased a badminton kit, and I quite like to play in the backyard with my family.”