If you were to glance at an 11th-grade teacher’s computer screen mid–Zoom class, you might not notice anything amiss. Like every other day of the week, it would be filled with bobbing faces, some smiling, some bored, some pissed. You’d have to really take a close look—and what teacher has time for this in the middle of a lesson?—to realize a handful of the faces haven’t moved an inch since the start of the class. That’s because certain students have replaced their live camera feeds with photos of themselves. Where they actually are, or what they’re actually doing, is anyone’s guess.
Welcome to Zoom school, the new reality for teenage kids around the world that brings a whole new set of unspoken norms and rules. With the younger kids, at least, there’s supervision. Parents have now added the role of teacher’s assistant to their repertoire, acting as boots on the ground on the students’ side of Zoom. But few parents have the stamina to supervise their high-schooler’s Zoom classes—and even fewer high-school kids can be persuaded to allow it.