Why students should be allowed to have their cameras off

Bridgette Simpson

Due to the shift from traditional in-person classes to remote instruction, there has been a great deal of discussion on a topic that concerns both students and professors alike: should students be required to have their camera on during online classes?

This debate has sparked much controversy. Teachers and professors tend to say that, yes, students should have their cameras on, while students argue if they are doing the classwork and participating, their camera being on should not be necessary. 

What teachers, however, don’t know is what students are doing behind the scenes, and that’s what troubles them. Are they really paying attention? Are they taking notes and being as diligent as they normally would be?

“I don’t think professors understand that I don’t want them to see me if I don’t need them to,” Will Faint ’23 said. “I am a very strong believer that the FBI man watching me through my laptop and phone camera would not be happy with my daily choices and activities, so I don’t think my teachers need to see me at eight in the morning. FBI guy is enough for me. The government is always watching.”

That is not even something I’d fully considered, but now I’m uncomfortable.

“I can absolutely, one hundred percent guarantee you nobody would want me to have my camera on during class,” Alex Zoom ’24 said. “I like to make eggs for breakfast or an early lunch, and I don’t want people to see me when I inevitably accidentally break the yolk in my egg. It’s just embarrassing. I don’t need my professors to see that I’m incapable of cooking an egg without breaking the yolk. I am humiliated thinking about it.”

Sometimes I’m not sure why I bother asking people questions because the answers are never what I’m expecting. 

“I drink every single day, all day, because I don’t have to go to class in person, and it doesn’t hinder my grades, so I see no problem. But obviously a nice morning Bud Light in my fly fishing class is frowned upon,” Carter Natural ’21 said. “So no, I don’t want my professor to see me. There’s no need, and he wouldn’t know if I was drinking or not because I participate in class and I do my homework. It’s not that deep.”

Teachers and professors, please try to remember we will make bad choices whether or not you know about them. And some people are embarrassed to have their cameras on, as Alex explained in a slightly unique way.

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