How Social Media Entwines with Distance Learning


Getty Images/iStockphoto

How distance learning, social media and covid-19 interferes with mental health.

Danyale Schlender, The Scroll, Features Editor

During today’s circumstances school is online, how most are trying to form and maintain bonds is through softwares  such as Zoom and Google Meets. These programs offer a temporary solution to in-person interaction and teaching . However, no matter the level of sophistication of online platforms and forms of social media, human interaction can not be fully substituted. Future generations could potentially have a decline in social skills and mental health due to social media overuse.

There is a fine line between staying up to date with friends and having an unhealthy obsession with social media. According to Statista, a statistics and data observing engine, the top seven most used social media platforms are as follows, in order: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Of the most popular, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are famously known for the filters that alter your facial structure.

 Tufts University states that , “in the last 6-7 years depression rates in teens have inclined 30-40%.” This can be directly related and traced back to repetitive use of these face restructuring apps. This is not healthy and constantly proves to be the opposite. Over usage of filters can have negative side effects, they discourage natural appearances, tend to cause body dysmorphia or worsen already existing body image and self esteem issues. 

Forcing large student populations to only communicate online makes them resort to spending more time on apps that change their facial appearances. Distance education is a large part of the reason most students are struggling with digital depression. ROTC cadet senior airman, Ethan Luczak says,“If we were on campus and it was safe to do so, I’d  hug my best friend. Instead I gotta facetime her and send her [snapchats] to try to stay connected.”

When asked his opinion on distance learning Luczak said, “Personally, I strongly dislike it because my friends are what motivate me to do my work.” Losing connection with your motivation and building a stronger bond with social media tends to be the route most are taking. This makes them feel  disconnected from [their] friends and Saugus High.” 

When Ira Rounsaville, Saugus High’s social worker, was asked if he reflects after observing social media he stated, “when I do expose myself to social media I do reflect and usually my reflection is why I’m not on social media.” He explains “social media can be very overwhelming […] because you find a whole bunch of good, a whole bunch of bad and a whole lot of stuff you didn’t even ask for.”

On social media you can not mediate what you do and don’t see with the exception of blocking certain parties but due to your specific algorithm you never truly know what’s going to come up if you keep scrolling. Mr. Rounsaville states that this can be educational but can make you feel like  “ you’re so disconnected from the world and people [you] like or thought [you] cared about.”

Students often come to the thought process similar to  a divorce-like feeling when they spend too much time online. This can lead to lack of motivation, feeling  unworthy and just all around…   “suckish.”  Mr.  Rounsaville observes that “to the people who are so engaged in social media, you have to understand what your motivation is.” Knowing your motivation for being on any social media platform is key to not being so easily discouraged. 

If your motivation is to be validated or to put yourself out there, other people can use the platform, to use that against you. Whereas, if your motivation is to spread kindness, awareness, and uplifting messages and you stay true to that, it’s harder to be put down. Right now this is our “new normal” while there can be harm in getting too comfortable with it, there’s no harm in making the best of it. As Mr. Rounsaville suggests, “The challenge right now is that we have to make the best of our situation, not try to reverse it. Let’s be appreciative of what we have.”

Coming to terms with helping the majority of students cope with the distance factor of distance education, sometimes you need to remove yourself  from certain environments. Be that as it may, students can’t always do this seeing as students need to be online to inform themselves. However, regulation is needed.  Mr. Rounsaville also suggests, “treat the weekends like weekends, your weekend should look nothing like a weekday. Even between periods, sometimes you need to remove yourself from that space, go to get sunlight, have movement, if not, that can cause digital depression.[as for weekends] You need to pour into yourself, you should be so dedicated to doing something so drastically different than what you did during the week. [You] need to be very intentional about caring for yourself, find something that brings you happiness and joy and be consistent about practicing it. Be committed to making a schedule for how to care for yourself to make sure and ensure that you survive this time.”




The opinions in The Scroll’s editorials are strictly the views of the writers of the staff or outside submissions. The views do not represent or reflect the opinions or policies of Saugus High School or the William S. Hart School District. The Scroll welcomes all reactions and outside submissions to share alternative views.