Social Media & Video Chats Help To Ease The Distance During Quarantine

Kelly Langevin, Social Media Editor

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way people are operating their lives: people are out of jobs, states are on lockdown, gatherings with large groups are no longer possible and new deaths are reported each day. But the use of social media and technology during the pandemic is now serving as a useful tool to stay in contact with those you cannot physically be with.

In an on-air interview with CBS This Morning in March 2017, Psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma shared her thoughts on why staying connected is so important during this time of uncertainty. Especially for older adults, she explains that giving them an “old Ipad” or any device to “connect them with technology” is “the biggest thing you can do.”

“I feel like the face to face, even through FaceTime, is basically saying ‘I am here, and I’m in your presence, and I am making eye contact.’ When we look at babies from an evolutionary point of view, newborns are drawn to human faces, so there is something about the human face. Even if we aren’t allowed to touch that person, to see their eyes and smile and say ‘I love you and care about you, how can I help’ [is important]. So if there is a way to make a FaceTime call available, do that,” Varma continued.

She also acknowledged that if contacting others through FaceTime is not possible, making a phone call, sending letters and finding other ways to reach out will help those stay connected despite social distancing rules.

Central Connecticut senior Sara Levasseur, like many others across the globe, celebrated Easter with her family members virtually by using Facebook’s video chat feature.

“We went to drop off food to my grandparents so they [could] have Easter dinner, then we all video chatted for an hour,” Levasseur said. “My grandpa is sick on oxygen and gets really emotional when he sees family members, so this has been especially hard for him.”

“He cried when we brought him food and when we video chatted with the whole family,” she said. “It makes you really appreciate being able to hug and kiss your loved ones since we can’t do that now.”

Another celebration that could not be enjoyed in a typical way was CCSU senior Emily O’Connor’s 21st birthday.

“Everyone talks about how your 21st birthday is supposed to be a big deal and you go all out. I didn’t get to do that. It felt like I really didn’t have a birthday and I felt bummed out,” O’Connor said.

Unable to see friends and extended family, O’Connor took her birthday over to Zoom, where she was able to connect with those virtually and still create memories.

“The Zoom call with friends and family made it so much better. Knowing that even though I couldn’t be with them all, they were still supporting me and trying to make my day as special as possible. All I wanted was to have a birthday I wouldn’t forget and it was definitely accomplished on this day,” she said.

Staying connected through social media and using technology during the pandemic can be beneficial, however, limiting the time you spend on it is also advised.

Everyone reacts to situations differently and processes information in their own way. For some, constantly reading and hearing about COVID-19 can be extremely stressful.

To reduce stress, the CDC recommends taking breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories including social media, because hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

On April 2, a tweet from CCSU’s Coordinator of Student Wellness Education stated, “stay informed about COVID-19, but if you begin to feel it is too much, limit the time watching the news. Get what you need and move on to contacting friends or going for a walk.”

“I think the biggest thing is staying in touch with people. Social media can be helpful up until people are talking about the virus and making people more anxious,” O’Connor said. “However, I do think that staying in touch with friends is helpful. Even a two hour FaceTime call with my friends improved my mood so much; it just takes away from all the chaos that is happening.”