The pandemic has had a drastic impact on the socio-cultural aspects of people's lives. The lockdown and this new way of life have forced people to adapt countless changes which are called 'new normal.' as the pandemic is taking a sharp turn recently, those changes are being reinforced with newer thoughts. Here are some drastic changes we should look back at again.
An obvious alteration to daily life is getting used to with apps like Zoom and Google Meet. All kinds of events starting from seminars to conferences, office meetings,and academic classesmoved online. As a result, people started to spend more time online as virtual meetings replaced the physical ones, home became the new office, gatherings almost ceased to exist.
While educational institutions across the globe suspended their regular classes, Bangladesh showed no exceptioncancelling important board exams like HSC. On the other hand, with the suspension of traditionally conducted classes, students are completing non-credit online courses provided by various international universities.
Upsurge of E-commerce
Needless to say, when going out of houses was not an option anymore, people relied on online shopping more than ever. E-commerce sites boomed and new entrepreneurs have been on the rise ever since. These new ventures range from selling homemade foods to groceries to even fruits. And such new businesses and online stores are popping up on Facebook and other social media each day.
Amazingly enough, the major share of the businesses launched online in the time of pandemichave been spearheaded by women. Most of these online shops offer homemade food products starting from savory products to desserts, the most common being brownies and cakes. Many women are selling dresses and other female accessories. These have proved to pave a road to self-sufficiency for women of all ages. While these online ventures started out with the intention of nothing more than generating income for families, they have now blossomed into successful businesses.
Cybercrime and online fraud
With nearly all forms of business and transactions being conducted online, the pandemic has been a lucrative period for cybercriminals. Credit card theft, faking identity, hacking of private accounts, deceiving people with fake online business pages, etc. have become all too common. The issue of online privacy also came into the limelight because of alarming exposure to social media and virtual platforms.
The issue of mental health received a lot of spotlights during the pandemic. Months of quarantine inside the four walls of the house generated frustration among people. For students, the concern was to graduate in time with a proper degree and land a successful job. For others, it was just about earning livelihood. As everything got disturbed, depression and mental despair became another pandemic itself.
Domestic violence and abuse became common in many households as couples vented their frustrations on their counterparts. Online bullying and harassment increased to no limit. However, the pandemic provided the ideal opportunity to reflect on this grossly neglected topic.
Rising leadership among the youth
The pause in academic activities meant students being able to pursue a lot of extra-curricular activities for self-development and both professional and personal growth. There has been a positive increase in activities such as volunteerism, internships, and other student-friendly competitions as everything became cost-free online. Such initiatives and events not only instill leadership values among youths, but also increase the soft skills of the participants.
Environment and nature
If Covid-19 has had some brighter sides, the brightest has to be the environmental change. Major rivers, seas, lakes, and oceans around the world started to have clear water while air quality improved significantly. Animals that rarely come out of their shelters were seen enjoying and strolling in empty streets. Satellite images started to show a massive decrease in atmospheric pollution globally, especially over major cities that are notorious for their air pollution. The peaceful sound of silence took over the most major and busiest cities all over the globe. Mother Earth finally got her long overdue vacation
The pandemic, with all its well and woes, has provided a lesson to the human kind. This lesson was resonated in Tim Robbins's voice in 1994 Hollywood classic: "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies."
The writer is a third year student of Criminology at University of Dhaka.
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