Zoom School Is Hurting Kids’ Mental Health

A high school student explains why, and how to make it better

Rainier Harris


Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

When the pandemic hit and remote learning began in March, I first thought it was an extended Spring Break — a nice vacation away from high school for a few weeks, maybe even two months at the very most. I thought I could destress, the workload would be light, and I could hang out with friends in between classes.

Obviously, I was wrong. Eight months later, I’m still spending at least six hours of remote learning per day on Zoom. And sometimes I laugh when I remember that in before times, my teachers used to recommend no more than two hours of screen time per day.

Remote learning often feels paradoxical. It seems as though I have more time to myself, but that’s not really the case. Yes, the daily three-hour commute from Queens, New York to my high school in Manhattan is gone, but since my productivity levels have nosedived, I need that extra time to deal with the hours of homework my teachers feel more than willing to put on me despite the world falling apart.

“Because of the switch to remote learning, it’s a whole new problem set with how to identify mental health issues with children, adolescents, and…