Black woman looks at her phone with confused look.


COVID-19 Has Made Me Care A Lot Less About Internet Arguments

Nov 16, 2020

I’ve always been the first person in line to argue on the internet — I just can’t seem to help myself. Social media debates about hot button topics are my jam, and this probably has something to do with who I am, a combination of journalist, empath and introvert. I’ve debated a number of topics, from why I am a Christian and pro-choice, to advocacy for mental health awareness — sometimes I even walk away learning something or feeling like I’ve engaged in a respectful dialogue.

Then everything changed.

It started in February, when I noticed people not taking the impending doom of COVID-19 seriously. One person posted that it was simply a cold, and rather than arguing with her I just deleted her. I couldn’t stand to argue with someone over something that seemed so obvious — the fact that we would soon be dealing with a global pandemic.

Soon after our country was in lockdown, and at first it seemed like everyone was on board with social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines, but as the months wore on I noticed more and more COVID skeptics on my newsfeed.

"Internet arguments used to feel a lot less heavy."

With 233,000 deaths (a likely very outdated number by the time this is published) from coronavirus in the United States, and the second wave well under way in Canada, it feels like labelling COVID-19 a serious pandemic should be a non-issue. When people on social media attempt to argue that it’s simply a flu, or that wearing a mask is a way for the government to control us, I cannot bring myself to engage in a thoughtful dialogue with them. The stress of the pandemic has created a hum of anxiety everywhere I go, and debating on Facebook, or Twitter or any other online forum feels like a waste of my time.

Over the last few months I’ve cleaned out my friends list on Facebook, ruthlessly deleting anyone who second guesses the validity of COVID-19 and the need for care and caution. When one person posted a video in defense of a group of mothers in Arkansas playing at a park, despite the park being closed, I swiftly deleted them without a second thought. Who advocates for risk like this, and what for? As a mother myself, I cannot fathom and I will not waste my energy arguing.

In this candid essay, Brianna opens up about her fears about taking antidepressants and her will to overcome it. Read her POV here.

While some will say that anyone who is generally healthy will likely be fine if they contract COVID-19, I fail to see the point of this line of thinking. When did we become so self-centered? I’ve always valued community, and caring for others. If wearing a mask will protect older adults and the immunocompromised I will gladly wear a mask. I don’t believe the government is trying to control me, and I have no idea how wearing a mask contributes to government control, anyway.

Internet arguments used to feel a lot less heavy. I once tried to see the other person’s perspective, and understand how their lived experience contributed to their thought process. But I fail to understand the thought process of anyone who doesn’t take this pandemic seriously, and I’m too tired and worn out from following social distancing guidelines to attempt to understand anyone who doesn’t.

Has COVID-19 divided us? Sure. But it’s also made me aware of those that really don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves, and I have no issues removing self-centered people from my life.

Article Author Brianna Bell
Brianna Bell

Brianna Bell is a writer and journalist based in Guelph, Ontario. She has written for many online and print publications, including Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, and The Globe and Mail.

Brianna's budget-savvy ways have attracted media attention and led to newspaper coverage in The Globe and Mail and The Guelph Mercury.

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