houseparty app

Photo: Adobe Stock

Lockdown teaches us to embrace online living and learning for the future

Online learning, online shopping, online parties and video calling our relatives…the ‘online lockdown list’ is indeed endless.

houseparty app

Photo: Adobe Stock

Life has not been the same ever since the first COVID-19 infection was reported on 5 March 2020 in South Africa. We have missed out on so many celebrations, graduations and classes in order to practise social distancing.

And now, more than two months later, there are more than 22 000 confirmed cases in our country. The primary reason for the nationwide lockdown has of course been to stop the spread of the virus and save lives. But this has also made our nation more aware of the technological world.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) upon us, the lockdown has showed up just how important it is for us to get familiar with how the internet can make our lives easier.

Making the switch

For example, previously my mother would send me to town to pay for her store accounts, but because we are trying to avoid going out unnecessarily, I am teaching her how to use cellphone banking to do this on her own.

Now, she can keep up with all her payments while also buying electricity and airtime. My grandmother is still very old school and prefers getting all the latest news from reading the newspaper, and just like my mother, I am also teaching her how to use her tablet to get all current affairs much quicker! These are all things that they can do even after the lockdown has ended.

Things to do online

There are various other things that we have learnt to adapt to in this period, which include online learning, online shopping, video calling our relatives, moving and growing our businesses online…the list is endless.

The clubbing lifestyle has moved online with lockdown house parties on Channel 0 and through the Houseparty app for example. More and more people are finding ways to make money online since the lockdown has stopped many of them from going to work.

All these things were in existence before, but we just did not pay much attention to because going out and physically doing them was the better option then.

The power of social media

As we are spending more time online, let us be mindful of the things we post though. Miss South Africa hopeful Bianca Schoombee had her beauty pageant dreams crushed after posting her entry video online.

Social media users went through her profile on Twitter and found very disturbing tweets from 2013. The tweets painted a very different picture of what the “sweetheart” seemed to be.

The tweets in question were racist and body shaming. Even though the comments were made when she was just 14 years old, they still hold a huge impact on her life. Twitter was not having it, they refused to believe that someone who made those comments could run for Miss SA. They sparked the #BiancaMustFall movement which led to her withdrawing her entry.

The Twitter streets were hard at work as they went after some of the other Miss SA entrants — Onedia Cooper who made similar comments and Zizile Mthembu who was rude to her Facebook “friends.” They have not withdrawn their entries though.

So, while we are still uncertain about when things will return to normal, let us continue to practise social distancing and be mindful of what we post online while we embrace our “lockdown cyber reality”.