It feels like there are so many rules and none at the same time. You can’t go anywhere, but you still want to be doing everything. It feels like a vacation, but there are still expectations and responsibilities. Nothing is stopping you from talking to anyone in any way. No one telling you to put your phone up during class. No dress code and no set start or end times to your day. Just a lot of talk about COVID-19 and quarantine. So now what? What can you do when COVID-19 disrupts everything?
Ask yourself these questions before you do something you’re not sure about:
- Is this something I would normally do or say?
- Am I letting the circumstances influence a change in my morals?
- Will I regret this in a month or feel guilty about it?
- Is this me being my best self?
- Will this show my parents I am trustworthy?
If you’re only doing “this” because you’re bored, your parents aren’t home, you’re spending more time behind your closed bedroom door, or whatever… then I think it’s fair to recognize that some choices can be really tempting during this time.
- You’re waiting on your friend to reply and it’s been a while so you text your ex. If it’s over, then why go back to them now?
- You know your parents won’t be home for a while so you sneak something to drink or invite someone over. Don’t give your parents the satisfaction of being right.
- What’s sending a nude picture to one person going to hurt? Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually stay with that one person. 🙁
- I won’t see them for a while, so I can comment/text this snark, and they’ll get over it. But what if they don’t? What if they did the same, would you get over it?
However, even though everything around you may feel out of your control and uncertain, how you carry yourself and your morals can stay consistent.
You can be the one constant in your own life.
During this strange time, you have to remember you are responsible for the things you can control. Your actions, choices, outlook, mindset, how you treat others, (parents/siblings included) and how you respond to your emotions—that’s all you.
You also have the opportunity to rise above the expectations that often come with being a teenager. I’ll be honest, some adults are quick to assume the worst—that you’re not responsible, you’re already going to break the rules, or that you’ll slack off.
You’ve got the chance to be better than others expect, to prove the haters wrong.
- You can be a more intentional friend.
- Be a more thoughtful daughter or son.
- You can be a productive student.
- Be your best self during the worst times.
I want to encourage you to not change who you are because it feels like no one is watching. You are watching you. At the end of all of this, my hope for you is that you would be proud of yourself for the hard decisions you made, the things you learned about yourself, the time you took to do something you’ve not had time for, and the ways you helped others.
We will all get through this together and have the opportunity to come out better than we went into it if we own our actions and make wise decisions. Enjoy this time away from the normal fast-paced weeks and stay well.
You all are going through something really challenging. The whole world is. I know going from seeing your friends or having an escape from home five days a week to nothing is a lot to take in.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe and make wise decisions!
- With all of this downtime, it’s easy to spend time on social media and post more than usual. What you have to be careful of is not sharing your location publicly or saying that you are home alone. Accounts are easy to hack and predators know that everyone is stuck quarantined. Make sure your social accounts are set to “private,” especially at a time like this.
- If you are playing video games, only letting people you know in your Chat is so important. If someone starts asking how old you are, what city you live in, what grade and what school you go to, what your real name is, DO NOT ANSWER. You need to kick them out of the party and tell an adult. This is how predators can catfish young people into giving them enough personal information to find where you live.
- Try your best not to spend all day on your phone. “Cell phone usage has been associated with sleep deficit, depression, anxiety, and stress” according to the US National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health. There is already a big sense of anxiety around COVID-19 and we don’t want to make it harder on ourselves!
- If your parents didn’t tell you someone was coming over or about a grocery delivery, don’t answer the door if you’re alone or it’s just you and your siblings.
- Don’t send it if you wouldn’t normally send it. If you’re under the impression it disappears when deleted, it doesn’t. The internet is forever.
According to Business Insider’s interview with Richard Hickman, a digital forensics examiner, “There are many ways to save snaps that you receive—the easiest way is to take a screenshot or take a photo with another camera. Snaps are deleted from our servers after they have been viewed by the recipient.“
“Note that while it says photos are deleted from Snapchat’s servers, it doesn’t say photos are deleted from the devices.” What this means is that the image can be found on the phone. In fact, there are numerous free apps in the app store.
When COVID-19 Disrupts Everything, Here’s How to Spend All That Time
If you are struggling with filling your time in a way you won’t regret, here are some ideas!
- Learn new dances on Tik Tok.
- Practice your language skills on Babbel or Duo Lingo.
- Workout alongside celebrities and athletes on FitOn (variety for everyone)!
- Build a fort.
- Group Video Chat.
- Learn something new on Youtube.
- Watch movies.
- Craft with things you have.
- Work out! Here are some free apps that have home workouts! FitOn, Peloton (for 90 days), Nike Training Club—to name a few! Not to mention YouTube has so many and even some Zumba classes, too.
- Go on a walk or a hike.
- Write a song, rap, play, poems, short story, etc.
- Go outside and find a 4-leaf clover; make it a competition of who can find it the fastest.
- If you have siblings, play hide and seek For real, tap in to your inner kid!
- There are tons of free games in the app store and some you can invite your friends to play with you, like virtual Uno or cards. If you have an iPhone, Game Pigeon in the text message thread can allow you to play games with your friends!