Students’ Social Media Use Increases During Isolation

Students are using social media more during the Covid-19 distancing, but they say they are avoiding news-driven sites.

By Hidie Dahl and Emily Hearn

With Covid-19 isolation measures, many students have turned to the wonders of the internet to socialize with friends and family or to find ways to fill their time. Some high school students have spent upwards of 12-13 hours a day on social media.  However, with cell phones and computers accessible throughout the “school day”, some are finding social media distracting them from their school work. Peyton Mitzner, a Central High School senior, says, “It’s so easy to go down so many different whirl-pools and then just like ‘Oh, it’s five 5 pm. Well, I guess I’ll just do it tomorrow’ and it’s so easy to get distracted.” That easy accessibility to electronics over the course of the day creates an excuse for procrastination.

With so many platforms out there, people have opinions on which ones should be avoided during the pandemic. Some are staying away from apps that are anxiety-inducing, including news-based apps. “Apps that have a lot of news that is easily shared are better to stay away from because they can give you false information about the virus and cause panic,” says high school senior, Chloe Silbernagel.

Twitter is thought to have similar limitations. “Twitter can be quite negative during this time,” says Tierra Flesner, a senior at Douglas High School. “It’s keeping everyone aware of all the bad in the world. I would avoid surrounding yourselves with negativity. Yes, it’s good to stay informed, but Twitter is too negative about the information given out.” Twitter is a very opinion based platform: you voice your opinion, get feedback on your opinion, and move on with life. For those who get anxious easily, Twitter is something that you should avoid. “There are a lot of hashtags such as ‘World ending 2020’ and it kind of stresses me out a lot,” says Peyton.

However, there are several social media platforms that are being used to spread positivity rather than utter fear. Suggestions for social media platforms to use during the pandemic include Pinterest, Facebook, Discord, TikTok, and Instagram. Jenna Brue, another Central High School senior, suggests using Facebook during the pandemic: “The school posts a lot of updates on there, and to me that’s the easiest place I can find info for anything school related.”

Students are also attempting to converse with those that they can’t see in person. “I’ve been using Snapchat and FaceTime a lot in order to stay in contact with my friends,” says Silbernagel. “I think that apps that keep you in contact with friends and family are the best to use right now.”

Discord, a lesser known app (unless you do gaming) is also a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. Aurora Venteicher, a Central High School Senior, suggests the following:  “Discord is an app where you can create group chats and do group calls. I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends the best on there.” She even has a few classes that have turned to using Discord to get better quality audio.

Photo: Jugendliche mit Smartphones by Marco Verch on Flickr