Online conversations wearing you down? Experts say 'Zoom fatigue' is real

If you're starting to get a little bit sick of virtual get-togethers you are not alone.

Like so many of us these days, Cassie Echevarria spends a lot more time than ever in front of a computer screen.

"We're all on our screens all day long. I'm a teacher, so I'm on my screen either posting assignments or having meetings with my colleagues or my students," said Cassie. "There's a lot of energy that goes into every conversation that you're having."

Mental health professionals say the coronavirus pandemic, with its stay-at-home orders, has created a condition known as "zoom fatigue."

WHAT IS ZOOM FATIGUE?

While these video chats can be a lot of fun, experts say they can actually put a strain on our brains because we have to work harder to interpret nonverbal cues like facial expressions and tone.

Nava Silton is an associate professor of psychology at Mary Mount Manhattan College. She says all this screen time can be stressful for kids and adults.

"I think it's really important for adults to recognize how much screen time they're actually using now and to diversify themselves," says Silton. "I think that they should diversify the interactions a little bit. You know have some phone conversations, have some zoom conversations. Have hours that are really, totally, totally without any screen time at all."

While using these virtual platforms may be causing fatigue many are relying on them to stay connected to each other while social distancing.

Adam Echevarria is Cassie's 18-year-old son. Since the pandemic hit, he says his screen time is up to about six hours a day.

"It was my close friend's birthday the other night. And since we obviously couldn't be together, my friend group zoomed," said Adam. "And we're now obligated to spend about half of our day zooming our teachers."

Cassie says it's the only way we can communicate, so we do it.

"And if that's for the long haul, yeah, I think we are going to get a little Zoom fatigue. But it's how people are trying to stay connected, so I'm all for it," she said.
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