CAMERA SHY- WHY?

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By Alisa Oden

4/21/21

Picture any ordinary online class. The chat is flooded with messages, but besides that, there’s no sign anyone is there. All of the video cameras are off. Teachers have long since given up trying to coax us into turning our cameras on, but why do students want them off in the first place?

In a survey given to Glasgow students, only 4 out of the 137 people who took the survey said they preferred to have their cameras on.

“I prefer to have my camera on, but only when I am in small groups or one on one with the teacher. When it is just the whole class I don’t keep it on, because I am not comfortable with everyone in the class,” said 7th grader Diana Prudius. Along similar lines, Katie Bille, an 8th grader said, “Honestly, I don’t like being the only one doing something. So, because no one else turns on their camera, I won’t either.”

Teenagers in general can be sensitive about their appearance and what others think of them. Many face insecurities about the way they look and that can make something as simple as turning on their cameras in class feel paralyzing. “My self esteem is in the dumps and I don’t feel connected to my body,” said 8th grader Ellie Stewart. “Seeing my own reflection makes me feel so much worse.” Ellie also added that students shouldn’t feel pressured to turn on their cameras.

As one of the few students of said they preferred having their camera on, Ayesha Gulzar, a 7th grader, said, “I like having my camera on in class because it makes me feel like I am encouraging others to turn on their camera, helping us build more of a community in a virtual world. It also helps me stay focused and not get distracted because in a way, I feel like the camera is keeping me accountable. ”

The vast majority of people who said they prefer having their camera off said it was either because they don’t feel comfortable with their appearance, they prefer privacy while at home, or don’t want family members to distract anyone. Since most of us are online, students want to feel comfortable in their own homes, and for most that means keeping their cameras off. Sorry teachers, but for now we’re most comfortable with our cameras off