Many students appreciate video chat platforms for their communication needs


Melina Kritikopoulos

Zoom, FaceTime and Discord are popular apps among the SCHS student body.

As senior Noel Ira logs onto the chatting app Discord, he finds himself conversing with his friends like he would in real-life before the shelter-in-place order. Skeptical at first about only having the internet as a way to catch up with others, Ira has learned to cope with the growing reality that he won’t be speaking to anyone face-to-face anytime soon. Now more than ever, people are turning to different apps to salvage what little form of communication they have available to them.

According to a study from Apptopia, a website that specializes in app-related data analytics, the popular video chatting app Zoom has had 2.2 million active users so far in 2020, compared to 1.99 million in 2019. The increase may be due to the shelter-in-place protocol issued in mid-March since many students are turning to digital video chatting platforms like Zoom in order to communicate with their friends and family.

Sophomore Elana Dayen is one of the many students who have benefitted from using video chatting apps to stay in touch with their friends. She feels that using them has helped her remember that she is not alone during this difficult time.

“It (communication apps) has made me appreciate my family and friends even more knowing that I cannot see them and hug them in person right now,” Dayen said. “It is also important because we can help support one another get through these tough times.”

Similar to Dayen, Ira has increased his usage of Discord to keep in touch with those close to him. He has been using the app’s voice calling function more now that his friends have become more active online due to the pandemic. According to Ira, ever since the shelter-in-place protocol began, there has been a higher value placed upon online communication platforms.

“I definitely think apps have only gotten more important since the quarantine,” Ira said. “While people like to talk about not going outside, quarantine still limits what they can do, and I think apps are one of the few options people have for socializing.”

Aside from Discord, there are other systems and platforms that students use on a daily basis.

Junior Kayla Phan uses Zoom and Facetime as she can reach most of her peers and loved ones through those two systems. She believes that the apps have helped her connect with others during the pandemic.

“I think that it (video chatting platforms) helps us cope with the situation,” Phan said. “Communication is really important during this time since everyone is affected.”

While Phan currently stresses the importance of utilizing online engagement to communicate, she also feels that video chatting platforms are slightly less effective than talking to someone face-to-face.

“It’s able to effectively allow us to communicate, but comparing it to talking in real life, there’s a piece missing,” Phan said. “You are able to experience more when talking to someone in real life.”

Even though face-to-face interactions are perceived to be more important, schools have had to improvise and teach online to their students.

SCHS students have had to cope with the loss of a traditional learning environment by retaining contact with their classmates through digital means. However, despite the fact that the current situation is unfavorable, some students have made an effort to confirm that those they care about are doing well.

“While options are limited, we still have the ability to check in on each other and help where we can,” Ira said. “It’s only by keeping in touch that people can really fend off the negative impact of being isolated.”