Numerous facets of American life have changed as a result of the coronavirus. It closed down companies, schools, and workplaces, forcing millions of people to spend a lot of time at home. To try to slow the spread of the virus, public health officials advised limiting social contact. These recommendations drastically changed how many people worked, learned, connected with loved ones, went about their everyday lives, celebrated, and mourned. For some people, this change was aided by technology.
Nevertheless, not everyone has benefited equally from technology use. It was commonly believed that “zoom fatigue” contributed to the pandemic. Digital interactions could only replace face-to-face contact to a certain extent for many people. For Americans, some forms of technology have been more beneficial than others. During the pandemic, some Americans’ interactions with technology weren’t always positive or simple. The epidemic brought attention to the digital disparities connected to internet access and affordability, and they also manifested themselves in new ways as life moved online. For all Americans who relied on screens throughout the pandemic, connection quality was crucial for academic work, business meetings, and online social interactions.
People with lower incomes have been more likely to struggle, from parents of kids who are dealing with the “homework gap” to Americans who are having trouble paying for home internet. Additionally, some people with higher salaries have also been impacted. People with lower means who utilize broadband have been particularly hard-hit by affordability and connection issues.
Those with a bachelor’s or higher degree are twice as likely to have used technology during the epidemic than those with only a high school diploma or less formal education. Parents and their children underwent significant adjustments as many families relocated their children’s education online.
Other changes were afoot in families as the epidemic prompted many families to seek safety in place, in addition to challenges with remote schooling. For instance, in some households, family rules and parents’ assessments of their kids’ screen use have changed. From making family calls, doing grocery shopping, and ordering takeout online, to having telehealth consultations with doctors or taking part in online learning activities.Many reports of burnout emerged as users adapted to video technology, and some people hypothesized that “Zoom fatigue” was setting in as Americans got sick of this kind of screen time.
Technology has made it easier for some folks under 30 to interact with peers, but for some, tech fatigue has set in. In comparison to before the epidemic, just around one in five adults between the ages of 18 and 29 say they feel closer to friends they know well. When compared to adults 50 and older, this share is twice as large. More than any other age group, adults under 30 are also more likely to say that social media sites have aided them in maintaining relationships with friends and family (30% say this), and approximately four out of ten of those between the ages of 18 and 29 say the same thing about video calls.
But some people were badly impacted by screen time. About half (49%) of young adults say they’ve tried to limit the amount of time they spend online or on their smartphone. About six in ten adults under 30 who have ever conducted video chats during the pandemic say they at least occasionally feel exhausted or worn out from doing so.