Technology and the power of video have never been more important than they are today. With the challenging and unsettling times that we’re currently facing, it’s critical that we find a way to stay connected with our family and friends. We’ve all had to adjust our daily routines to aid in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but we need to ensure we are taking care of our own mental health as well as reassuring those we love that we’re well and healthy.
One aspect that makes this situation difficult is the disconnect we might experience from our loved ones who aren’t living with us. Face-to-face contact is rare these days, and isolation can really take its toll on our well-being. Luckily, there are several technologies that can help combat this.
With little more than a tablet, computer or phone, you can have an (almost) in-person chat with your loved ones.
The Importance of Video Communication While Social Distancing
Right now, with the pandemic posing a threat to us all, staying at home and avoiding close human contact is extremely important. But that doesn’t make it easy -- humans are social creatures and rely on human contact for our well-being.
Part of looking after yourself during this period of isolation means using the technology available to stay connected with friends and family who are sharing this experience and can also reap the benefit of human contact -- even if it’s only digital.
While phone calls and text messages are good for a quick check-in, being able to actually talk to someone face-to-face is a far more familiar and fulfilling experience. Doing this in person right now might seem impossible -- but with the right video solution it doesn’t have to be.
Here are five platforms to consider for video communication:
1 - Zoom Meetings: Zoom has quickly become a popular choice to facilitate connection with your loved ones during this pandemic. One nice feature of Zoom is that it allows users to have a free 40-minute high-quality video call on either a mobile device or a standard personal computer.
Setup and installation are also relatively straightforward. You or your loved one can simply set a meeting time and then send a web link to the other party. It’s that simple!
2 - Apple FaceTime: For Apple users, FaceTime will most likely be your go-to for video communications. Pre-installed on all Apple mobile devices (like iPads and iPhones), there’s no download required to have a high-quality video chat using your front-facing camera. Plus, it’s free!
The downside of FaceTime is that it only works between two Apple devices, so if you or your loved one uses an Android device, you’ll need to think of an alternative solution. Luckily, with Apple’s popularity, FaceTime remains an available solution for many people.
3 - WhatsApp: WhatsApp is one of the world's most popular internet-based communication platforms. It functions as an instant messaging, voice call and video call solution -- all in one. It’s free to download and works across any mobile device.
WhatsApp is an excellent solution for staying in touch with loved ones regardless of country or device, especially during quarantine because of its near universal popularity.
4 - Google Hangouts: Like FaceTime is for Apple, Hangouts is for Android. It tends to be the preferred platform of Android users as it comes pre-installed on those types of mobile devices. Unlike FaceTime, however, any device can install and use Hangouts so long as there is a Gmail address associated with the user. Most people have a Gmail account as it is free and required to use popular services like YouTube.
Another benefit of Hangouts is its accessibility on traditional computers. With a convenient chat platform automatically available when you log into your Gmail, you can start a video (or voice) call with anyone in your contact list who’s currently online. The browser-based video platform means no tricky downloads to figure out which can make this a perfect solution for those of us who are less tech-savvy.
5 - Skype: Skype was one of the first video call platforms to become popular, and maintains a large degree of that popularity -- especially among those who became comfortable with the platform over the course of using it for many years.
Even though we might be separated from our loved ones physically, we can still enjoy face-to-face communication that can give us that essential human connection we need during this difficult time.
We’d love to hear how you’ll be staying connected with your family and friends, so please share your stories with us on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to “Like” and “Follow” us!