Rio Americano High School
%5BTop+to+bottom%5D+Junior+Lucy+Prieto%2C+senior+Alyssa+Escay%2C+senior+Annalee+Gorman+and+junior+Katie+Newton+enjoy+each+other%27s+company+in+a+group+FaceTime.

Photo By Katelyn Newton

[Top to bottom] Junior Lucy Prieto, senior Alyssa Escay, senior Annalee Gorman and junior Katie Newton enjoy each other's company in a group FaceTime.

Social Media Helps Students Cope with Social Distancing

Staying connected via social platforms has become increasingly important upon news of a formal order for Sacramento County residents to remain inside except for essential activities in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, or the coronavirus. 

For teenagers, who are known for living in a digital age, it should seem like an easy task to stay connected, but many have realized the impact of social interaction in this time of isolation.

“I think the quarantine has made it hard to keep my connections with people alive because I cannot go anywhere,” junior Hunter Dadigan said. “Normally I would be seeing all my friends at school every single day and be able to hang out over the weekends.”

The shelter in place order will last until April 7, unless county officials state otherwise. 

Calif. governor Gavin Newsom has emphasized the importance of the next months in combating the spread of the virus.

Limited levels of physical interaction have proven to be a challenge for people of all age groups, and many report feelings of anxiety and loneliness. While the coronavirus is too new for current statistics on it’s effect on mental health, international epidemics are stressful for many citizens.

During the SARS outbreak of 2002, a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Emerging Infectious Diseases analyzed the psychological effects of quarantine. Researchers used the Impact of Events Scale – Revised, which analyzes the presence of subjective stress caused by traumatic events.

Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed reported having some level of post-traumatic stress disorder or depressive symptoms after an extensive period of time in quarantine.

The abundance of social media outlets tend to help counteract some feelings of isolation, however. Aside from traditional messages and calls, students have depended on video services from FaceTime to Zoom in order to have more interactive conversations with friends and family.

“FaceTime allows us to be able to connect with one another but on a different level,” said senior Alyssa Escay. “It’s different from snapchatting or texting because you’re able to actually see one another and have real conversations. It makes you feel as if you’re with your friends even with the distance.”

FaceTime allows us to be able to connect with one another but on a different level… It makes you feel as if you’re with your friends even with the distance.”

— Senior Alyssa Escay

Other top apps that people spend time sharing videos and life updates on include TikTok and Snapchat.

There has also been an outreach on social media to spread positivity. Trending hashtags including #challengeaccepted, #24hours and #spreadpositivity dominated Instagram stories for a period in time as many students tried lightening the mood on social media and posting pictures of themselves and others.

“The quarantine has been challenging but it definitely helps to see positivity on social media,” said senior Natalie Link. “It keeps my spirits up. I have enjoyed having social media because it keeps me connected with my friends since I am unable to see them during the lockdown.”

The Rio Raiders Instagram page also encouraged students to share pictures of their favorite memories of the year to “remember how awesome this year has been so far!”

In addition to keeping in touch via social media, the county order to stay inside has meant more family time. While this may bring about some tensions, it also connects family members that might otherwise be filling their day with extracurriculars.

“It helps bring my family closer together because we all have busy schedules normally, and now that we aren’t allowed to go anywhere we have more time to spend together,” said Dadigan.

With the San Juan Unified announcement that the district hopes to transition to “distance learning” by April 13th, it seems it will be an extended period of time before students can return back to school, if at all. 

Without school as a social outlet for the time being, adolescents are encouraged to spend quality time with their family and keep in touch through the various social media platforms that exist in this digital age.

 

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