How to Use Technology To Stay Connected With Your Loved Ones
Technology has made staying in touch with family and friends easier than ever before — a fact that became incredibly important in early 2020 when the COVID-19 epidemic made “social distancing” a part of daily life. Taking a trip to the nursing home to see Nana or dropping by mom and dad’s house for Sunday dinner became events people avoided out of concern for their loved ones.
Fortunately, technology has made it easier than ever to connect virtually. Below are just a few of the ways you can meet up with people without face-to-face interaction, from video calls to watching Netflix simultaneously.
Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod, iPod Touch, and Mac computers, FaceTime is a simple-to-use app for audio and video calls. You can have a family reunion with Group FaceTime, which supports up to 32 people, or just brew up a cup of coffee and call that special someone to tell them you love them.
Houseparty (iOS and Android)
Houseparty allows up to eight people in a small, cozy chat room. As it’s available for iOS, Android, and Chrome you can include people who use any of these three operating systems. Houseparty comes with a bunch of games, including trivia, Draw Something, and virtual charade games.
Missing out on movie night with your friends? Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to sync your Netflix account with your movie-living buds, so you’re all watching the show at the same time. Of course, half the fun of a movie party is the chance to comment on what’s going on on-screen, so Netflix Party supports group chat. All you need is a Netflix subscription and Google Chrome.
Facebook Messenger (iOS and Android)
Facebook Messenger allows you to text anyone on your Facebook Friends list, as well as people on your phone’s Contact List. The app also supports audio and video calls (with special effects and filters). You can play all sorts of games, from arcade classics like Space Invaders to Words with Friends.
Whatsapp (iOS & Android)
Whatsapp is another free messaging app. Like Facebook Messenger, it supports texting and video calls from anywhere in the world, with no international calling charges.
How you use these apps is only limited by your imagination. Missing a significant other? Pop on FaceTime for a romantic chat. Fire up a Facebook Messenger video call so you can work out with your favorite gym partner. Have the kids sing Happy Birthday to Grandpa over Houseparty, or play Scrabble with mom while you catch up on the day’s news.
Don’t forget other ways to stay in touch. Online games allow the whole family to interact in virtual worlds — although be warned, having granny own you in a player-vs-player game in front of your guildmates is an experience you’ll never live down!
We’re more connected now than at any point in human history. Just a few decades ago the phone was our only option for connecting with distant loved ones. Today, we can Livestream important moments across the planet. So stay in touch with the people you love — there’s never been a better time to do it.