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  • Writer's pictureJWMS Newspaper Club

Should Cameras be Mandatory in an Online Environment? by Maya G.

During distance learning, many people have been debating whether schools should require students to turn on their cameras in a virtual environment. Some people feel that having cameras on will help people connect and help the teachers notice students' emotions; whereas, others believe having cameras on will distract and create stress for students. It is a hard question that has many people taking a firm opinion.

Several students feel that requiring everyone to turn on their cameras will help them connect, making a day of isolation a lot more pleasant. During this quarantine, some students need social interaction, and just small interactions on Zoom will cheer them up.

Another perspective students have is that turning cameras on in Zoom makes it much easier for teachers to support students. Teachers can see students' reactions if they have their cameras on, which helps the teachers know when to go slower and when to ask questions. This small connection between students and teachers may help students better understand what they are learning and stay engaged in the lesson, making it less likely for them to miss directions or fall behind in their classes.

Some students also believe that when you have your camera on, you feel forced to focus. If your teachers can see what you are doing, you might pay more attention because you know that your teacher is looking at you--and being able to focus better might help you pass your classes.

Other students believe that having their cameras on makes them self-conscious, creating a stressful and distracting situation. Students might struggle to focus or participate because of the constant worry that people are looking at them. For some students, stress overwhelms them when they have their cameras on, so they would rather follow along from behind a blank screen. Many students also fear classmates seeing their living spaces, which can be a source of anxiety or insecurity.

During this crazy time, teachers have encouraged students to turn on their cameras, but ultimately, the choice is up to you. Even if it's not required, should you turn on your camera during Zoom? Overall, it is a complicated question to answer. Whichever side of the argument you support, remember to do what is best for you and your learning.

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