You really can do anything online.
While COVID-19 has drastically reduced our ability to gather in-person, the social-emotional growth of children, including the need for regular social interaction among students, has not diminished. In addition to providing academic training, schools also bear responsibility for teaching societal norms and offering a space for students to practice corresponding social skills. As traditional brick-and-mortar schools continue to adapt and deliver academic instruction virtually or through a hybrid approach, they must also reimagine face-to-face socialization opportunities in an online environment.
Developmentally, teenagers seek opportunities to connect and share, explore, and engage in healthy debate. These crucial years provide the framework students need to discover and build on their passions through extracurricular pursuits while forming, nurturing, and navigating friendships.
Online socialization might look and feel different than traditional onsite interactions, but this method can still provide the meaningful social outlet that students need in safe, appropriate forums outside of popular social media platforms.
While there are many settings for online socialization, one in particular stands out: virtual clubs. Facilitated by faculty members, these clubs provide regular meetings for students to collaborate and deepen relationships based on shared interests while promoting media and technological literacy.