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Keeping in touch with family and friends

Category Tech
Published 9 April 2020

Keeping in touch with family and friends

Now more than ever, people are searching for ways to keep in touch with their loved ones outside of their usual face-to-face interactions. Staying connected online using video call technology is a great way to spend time with friends and family no matter where they or you are. There are a whole host of apps that you can download on your smartphone, tablet or laptop to help you.

Staying connected when you're staying at home

The wonders of technology mean that you no longer need to be able to go out and meet people in person or rely on voice calls to stay in touch with friends and family or continue an active social life. There are several video chat apps out there including; Zoom, Skype, FaceTime call, Houseparty, Whatsapp and more which will enable you to continue to keep in touch with your social network from the comfort of your own home. You can use these services for one-to-one calls, or for bigger groups of family and friends. Once you get really savy you can even use screen-sharing functions to show everyone your photos or share a document you want them all to see.

How the Zoom app works

Zoom is one of the most popular free video chat apps, used by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. You can use the service for free one-to-one video meetings with no time limits, or for group video calls of three or more people for up to forty minutes. Simply go to the app store of your smartphone or tablet to download the app and get started. Alternatively, if using a laptop you can head to the Zoom website to download from there.

Zoom have recently increased their security measures to ensure that they keep their users safe. For more information on these measures head here.

What is HouseParty?

The Houseparty app is similar to Zoom, as it enables you to stay in contact with your friends and family via video calls. with the added benefit of being able to play games together too. Download the app from your devices app store, just as you would with Zoom, and let the fun commence! Games you can play include; Heads Up, Quick Draw (like Pictionary) and a trivia quiz.

How to video call on an Apple device

iPhone users or those with other Apple devices can video call using FaceTime. The great thing about this app is that it comes pre-installed with all apple devices. Remember though that FaceTime is only accessible for Apple users, so the person you want to video call must also be using an iPhone, iPad or Mac for it to work.

Using Skype without downloading

Skype is another popular video calling service on which you can organise group calls of up to 50 people at a time. One of the advantages of Skype is that you can make a video call without downloading anything - all you need is a friend or family member who has the app who can then simply send you an invite to a Skype video call.

Top Tips when getting started with video conferencing:

  • If you're not sure of where to begin, ask a friend or family member who is more familiar with video call technology to help you get started. They can even advise you over a regular voice call whilst you get everything set up!
  • You will need a good WiFi internet connection to be able to clearly stream the videos back and forth. Check the signal strength on your device before you get started. You may need to turn off any other devices using the internet just whilst you are on the video call to ensure the best connection.
  • Arrange a specific time with those you are video calling so everyone is ready- no one wants to miss the conversation because they weren't ready. Zoom, for example, allows you to email and invite others to a 'meeting' beforehand so everyone is prepared.
  • Make sure you've set up your video call area somewhere comfortable (you might be here a while!) and with good lighting so everyone can see you.
  • Turn down any background noise like the television or radio so those on the other end of the call can hear you clearly. Also make sure you turn the volume up on the device you are using so you can hear them too!

Remember: ultimately using these apps to keep in touch with your friends and family is all about having fun... Don't worry if your group calling doesn't all go smoothly the first few times, everyone will be pleased to see you no matter what!

Need a device to help you stay connected? Check out our Tech product range here