Should Cameras Be Mandatory During E-Learning?


Graphic By Nizhoni Ward

Nizhoni Ward, Writer

Cameras and mics on please!

If you’ve been in a meeting so far for school, you know some schools are enforcing cameras. It’s ridiculous. As a high schooler, teachers asking to turn your cameras on for class has become a recent occurrence. Zoom, Google Meets and such give you options to have your camera on or off. Little does the school know, there’s so much that goes into having your camera on. Such as privacy, family life and just wanting the choice to have your camera on or off if you’re comfortable.

Teachers argue that keeping the cameras on will prove students are paying attention in class and will allow for them to get to know us, the students, better.

Having your camera on or off wouldn’t help anything. Students could still be on their phones, video games, tv or just plain not doing anything. Also, many students are uncomfortable with showing the inside of their homes with their cameras on. Privacy is key with everyone. Going to school is so public and just being able to keep homelife private is a relief. 

Having your camera on while you’re with family could be a struggle. You could have younger siblings running around and being loud or parents doing their daily routines. In addition to this, you could have a distracting background, just not feeling the best, or eating. You would want to keep all this private as that is your right. Students are already allowing people to see into their home, then letting their family be shown is just another step up. These google meet video chats aren’t private and protective. People could share personal information just by seeing someone and their family over the camera. 

Some reasons to have cameras on could be for tests, quizzes and projects. This would be mostly for the teachers and not really for the students. Also since everything is remote learning, it’s better to match a voice with a face. This is because you’re in a new grade, with new teachers, and new students around you who don’t know who you are.

However, making students have their cameras on for class is dumb. The students’ grades will reflect with their working ethic. However, this is high school and no one should be babied into working. As we grow up there are more responsibilities we have to withhold. If a camera is depended on to see if a student is working or is present is making students dependent on teachers. As we grow into young adults, we need to be independent of ourselves and grow. 

Furthermore, google meets has features to participate. Such things as virtually raising your hand and thumbs up. Additionally, HF has changed our icon pictures to our ID pictures instead of letting us change them to whatever we want. So, when students have their cameras off their ID picture shows as our icon picture. Having your camera off wouldn’t affect anything since teachers could match your voice to your profile picture. 

Cameras on or off shouldn’t depend on that student’s work ethic. This all comes down to trust and reliability in the end. Cameras don’t help people work harder. It’s the person who decides that. Just like in school except this is over a computer. High school is supposed to be getting students ready for college and life. If cameras become a mandatory thing for them, they won’t be well prepared for the real world and how individualistic you need to be to get by.

Most to all students should be able to do their classwork and homework on time. This is just simple responsibility and integrity which they’ve learned their entire lives. These students have been going to school for 9-12 years now. If they haven’t learned to do things on their own by now, that’s a problem. 

Having a choice during this is your right too. If you don’t want to have your camera on, you shouldn’t be punished for it. Students could become more stressed and uncomfortable than they already are with having to do school online. Furthermore, students shouldn’t have to serve detention or anything for not wanting to have their cameras on. If the student is more comfortable with not having their camera on, that’s their choice. Sooner or later, they may turn it on when they feel more safe and welcomed.

High school is preparing its students for their future. Family life and privacy also takes a toll on having cameras on. Cameras shouldn’t be enforced. Students already have enough stress learning everything by themself online. Adding the uncomfort of enforcing cameras and punishing them if they don’t have cameras on is wrong. If a camera is depended on to make sure a student is working or paying attention, how will they be prepared for the real world?