Webcams and social interactions during online classes: identity work, self-presentation and well-being


This article was originally published here

Before Psychol. 2022 Jan 10;12:761427. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.761427. eCollection 2021.


The well-being of children and young people has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift to online education has disrupted daily rhythms, transformed learning opportunities, and redefined social connections with peers and teachers. Here we present a qualitative analysis of the content of responses to open-ended questions in a large-scale survey of teachers and students in Romania. We explore how their well-being has been impacted by online education through (1) the spillover effects of the sudden shift to online courses; (2) identity work at individual and collective levels; and (3) self-presentations of students and teachers in the online environment, with a focus on problematic aspects of webcam use. The results indicate that both students and teachers experienced ambivalence and various changes in well-being, generated by the flexibility, loads, and disruptions of homeschooling. Identities associated with the roles of teacher and student were challenged and opened up to renegotiation. New patterns emerged in the identity work of teachers and students. The failure or success of self-presentation in online situations is relevant to the emotional valence of learning encounters, impacting well-being. Online courses have brought new ways to control self-presentation while eliminating previous tactics and resources. The controversy around webcams captured this duality: for some, the house remained a backstage that could not be safely displayed; for others, the home has become a convenient stage for school. Well-being is affected by the success of individual and collective performance, and by student-teacher asymmetries. Overall, our study of e-learning indicates powerful but variable influences on subjective well-being, which are related to spillover effects, identity work, and self-presentation.

PMID:35082716 | PMC: PMC8784946 | DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.761427

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