Technology and virtual communication is great for many things. Mainly, staying connected with family and friends over distances and generations, without even leaving home. But are you using its capabilities to the level you could be? Whether you have a smartphone, computer, or tablet with the internet, there are many ways you can keep in touch with your loved ones.
Staying Connected With Video Chats
Video chatting is the most popular, and the most intimate form of virtual communication. As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a front-facing computer you are ready to chat! The easiest way to video chat is through FaceTime, although this is only available between two iPhone users. This works the same way as calling someone, but you select “FaceTime” instead of text or call. No iPhone? No problem! There are many apps you can download to video chat or existing platforms you can use. If you have a Facebook, Facebook Messenger allows you to video chat with your Facebook friends. WhatsApp is another great free option and works internationally. If you are interested in video chatting with multiple people at once, Skype or Zoom are free programs that allow you to set up calls with large groups of people. These can run as apps on your phone, or websites on your desktop. Once you create a profile, instructions will walk you through setting up a call and inviting participants.
Keeping In Touch With Phone Calls
Simple calls on the phone allow you to stay connected with family easily! If you are looking to call someone internationally or you don’t have a phone plan, free apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger allow you to call people using your internet.
Saying Hello With Emails
Emailing is a simple way to keep in contact with family and friends. Like letters or texts, the emails you send can be read at any time–meaning it’s easier to communicate with people on different schedules or time zones. Getting an email is also free and can come with some additional benefits! For example, if you create an account with Gmail, you can use Google’s email service and access lots of other free tools, like Google Docs, photo storage, and calendars. Emailing can be used to send pictures, videos, or interesting links as well!
Staying Updated With Social Media
Joining social media is the best way to stay in touch with lots of people at once. Among seniors, Facebook is the most commonly used platform with 52% of people aged 50 to 64 having a Facebook page. Instagram is the next most commonly used, with 23% of people 50 to 64 having a profile. Social media allows you to follow along with the lives of friends and family, and even people you may have lost touch with. You can post videos, updates, and photos to let people know what you are up to. You can also see what those you follow are up to. Setting up a social media page is easy–just go to “create an account” on the platform of your choosing and follow the instructions! You will then be greeted with a mini tutorial to get you started. You can also ask your friends and family who are on social media to help you set up a page. Obviously, sharing personal information online can be risky. When you use social media, follow these rules:
- Check your “Privacy Settings” to be sure only your friends can see what you post.
- Never accept a request from someone you don’t know.
- Never send or receive money over social media–these are usually scams.
- Never click on suspicious-looking links or offers.
- Fact-check information, especially news or political claims. Anyone can post anything on social media!
These are just a few brief rules–there are many books, YouTube videos, and online articles that cover the do’s and don’ts of social media.
Keep Up With Your Loved Ones
Technology offers us so many opportunities to stay connected. It may require a bit of research and time to get yourself up and running–but when you get to read a book with your grandchild over video or see photos of old friends, it’s worth it!
- Tom’s Guide