The covid 19 pandemic had affected nearly everyone on the planet. Most of us have endured significant lifestyle changes. The importance of cyberpsychology and human-computer interaction as a field of study has never been more critical in our increasingly technologically connected world. This importance has only accelerated during COVID 19. Given these realities, we would like to discuss some of the ways we’ve been affected by the pandemic and predict what lies ahead in our post-pandemic future.
Anxiety and mental health issues
Many of us are worried about the future and are struggling with the anxiety of mood disorders. Drug use and overdose increased during the pandemic. Now we are worried about new variants and breakthrough infections. Those who have been hospitalized have suffered through extended periods of isolation. People who lost family members and friends have experienced profound loss and grief. Health care workers and first responders experienced (and in some places continue to experience) extreme psychological and physical stress. People realize that they’ve been struggling and have become more open to outside support for learning how to cope.
It is predicted that as with any traumatic event, we should expect the effects to be long-lasting. Virtual services aren’t going anywhere. The therapeutic landscape will expand in breadth and scope. We will see the integration of AI, apps, and other digital technologies such as robots.
Limited in-person contact
We haven’t had much in-person contact. The day-to-day interactions that make up our lives from the mundane to the more profound have all vanished these past two years. Children have missed interpersonal and social contact during some of their most critical developmental ages, potentially affecting their learning of social skills, sports, and other team activities. Yet about one-half of Americans regardless of whether they received a vaccine report feeling uneasy about in-person interaction.
This might be easy to predict that the new normal will be awkward. Those who possess more limited social skills pre covid will need some extra help and support. Regardless of personality type or personal situation socializing and doing business face to face will require a period of adjustment. Exiting a conversion will no longer just happen by hitting the left button on the zoom. Coaches’ therapists and motivational speakers can capitalize on our collective experience during the pandemic to encourage inclusivity and collaboration.
Reliance on online platforms
We are even more reliant on online platforms and the internet for work, play, attending events, and information. Approximately 70% of Americans have had online social interactions since the start of the pandemic. This includes social media, online chat rooms, or video calls. We have come to rely on online platforms for some of our most fundamental activities. We have become accustomed to the accessibility and convenience of online platforms.
It can be predicted that this will continue to rule the day. Organizations will expand their online services to keep and grow their employee and client base. Online platforms will also allow people the freedom to live farther from their place of employment, perhaps with more work-from-home days and fewer days of commuting.
Work and leisure at our own pace
We became used to work and leisure at our own pace. The internet and online platforms have drastically changed the ways in which we consume information including our ability to control it. The production and consumption of information have democratized. One may wonder how such information exchange may ultimately impact our listening skills, our ability to process complex information, and our patience.
We can predict that the ability to control the speed of information will be even more appealing as well as having access to recorded materials. Online information won’t be the best choice in all situations and even if it’s available the manner of delivery may need refinement. We will need to strike the right balance between remote or online activity and face-to-face interactions.
Educators and students quickly learned new tools
Educators and students had to quickly learn new tools and adjust to the loss of classroom and campus culture. Students studying remotely this past year have reported disconnectedness and other socio-emotional challenges, especially with passive learning strategies as opposed to active learning techniques which support engagement motivation, and satisfaction. Generation Z adults have been the most likely generation to say that their mental health worsened since the start of the pandemic. Patents have reported difficulties balancing responsibilities, learner motivation, accessibility, and learner outcomes.
Clearly, we must continue with caution. While online platforms have been an important part of our ability to engage with others, our reliance on them must be tempered. We have realized that online learning is not effective for everyone. Those with special needs require more frequent or even face-to-face communication. We can predict that we can expect more research that addresses attention space, learning styles, and their impact on how people process information in different mediums.
In conclusion, the post covid future has both forced us to change and provided more opportunities to choose change. This required greater attention to the mental health and wellness of individuals and communities. A shift in the way we think about work, new thinking on how to achieve inclusion, self-civil discourse, and institutional trust and resilience for coping with the continued impacts of the pandemic. Resilience is one of the most important buffers for effectively managing significant transitions and serious mental health challenges.