Social distancing, a term widely used to keep people physically apart, is creating a mindset that people should cut off from society. It’s important to stay connected, and technology is helping us rediscover our friends, family, and community (and the world!) in ways we never imagined.
Today, as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, millions of people around the world are being encouraged, or even ordered, to stay at home. New buzzwords and trending hashtags have emerged that, last year, most of us had never even heard of. #StayHome; #FlattenTheCurve; #QuarantineAndChill; and of course, #SocialDistancing
It's time to bury the word screen time. It has no meaning. It's not the screen that is the issue, but what you do on it.
As it is turning out, our devices and their screens are actually becoming a huge boon to all of us.
Education goes on, and our teachers are doing an amazing job adapting and innovating with the digital shift.
A recent article from Forbes tells us that right now, nearly half of the world's school aged children are missing out on classes because of Coronavirus. My children, along with many others around to world, are benefiting greatly from the ability to continue their (mostly) usual curriculum thanks to technology. Tools made possible by companies such as Google, Zoom, Slack, and many more are allowing day to day life to proceed far better than it would have in previous generations that had no access to the technologies we have in place today.
In addition to education, technology is making work and leisure while "social distancing" possible as well. In the past, social distancing would have truly meant isolation. But thanks to the leaps and bounds that we as a society have made over the past decades, we are able to continue on with many aspects of our lives with minimal sacrifice when compared to what we would have had to endure in generations past.
The sacrifices that we are having to make is sparking creativity.
Many stories are beginning to trend of people hosting virtual dinner parties, virtual cocktail hours, book clubs, fitness classes, religious gatherings, and group meditations. All of these are being made possible by increasingly popular platforms like Zoom, Hangouts, Facebook Live, FaceTime, and many more.
Stories are being covered by major media outlets like Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal that are demonstrating human persistence and our instinctive need to connect with one another. We are learning how to take a much-needed shift in the digital direction. We are proving to ourselves that even if we can't be around each other, we can still stay connected to each other.
When is the last time you visited the Louvre?
You should do it today! A host of the world's best museums are now offering virtual tours. Culture is another area of our lives that need not suffer. Places like the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim in New York, the Louvre in Paris, and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's historic home in Virginia are offering tours that you can take right from your couch.
Concerts are also going live online, and some are even free! Artists like John Legend, Coldplay, Elton John, Miley Cyrus, and Willie Nelson are holding virtual concerts.
Are you the travel type? Google has an online experience with which you can tour United States National Parks right from your screen. Explore places like Bryce Canyon, Hawai'i Volcanoes, and the Alaskan Kenai Fjords right from the comfort of quarantine.
All of these opportunities have made me come to really dislike the term "social distancing"
It is inaccurate. It has a bad connotation. It can make you feel depressed and isolated. As a society, we are far beyond the need to socially distance from one another. Physically distance? Of course. It is critically important that we eradicate this pandemic as quickly as possible with as few sicknesses and deaths as possible. So you should definitely stay at home when at all possible. Limit your exposure from being beside other people as much as you can. Physically.
Socially, I strongly encourage everyone to maintain their friendships, working relationships, school friends, and family members. Go have a beer with your friends, on the couch with a digital get together. Sing some karaoke together. Listen to a concert. Tour that museum that has been on your bucket list for years. Do these things together.
We have the technology that makes it possible. To not take advantage of the things we have achieved as humans, now when our need for it is so great, would be an incredible waste of innovations and achievements.