Self isolation and social distancing can be a worrying time when you’re separated from loved ones near and far. As it’s not recommended to invite friends over or to visit family at the moment, we need to think of ways to get around this social obstacle.
However, this being the modern age of technology, phone calls are unlikely to happen via a landline and letters are not usually sent via snail mail anymore. Kids today (and older relatives as well!) have the latest gizmos and gadgets at their disposal to stay in touch across a number of platforms. Even those less tech-savvy will find it easy to keep lines of communication open!
Voice-calling is always popular, and is probably one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with family and friends. You can use the video function on your smartphone for both the Ooredoo and Vodafone networks, as well as add multiple callers for a group chat.
New apps on the block Zoom (Android, iOS) and Houseparty (Android, iOS) can be easily downloaded, with Zoom proving popular for business conference calls and Houseparty for virtual get-togethers and gameplay. Even Prince Charles recently opened London’s new NHS Nightingale Hospital for intensive care coronavirus patients using Zoom – the first time a member of the Royal Family has ‘attended’ an opening ceremony remotely!
Investing in gadgets such as the Amazon Echo Show, a compact smart display, will allow you to use a large screen for video calls alongside multiple other functions such as streaming, manage your calendar and make to-do lists, which you can share with your contacts.
If you’re used to social gatherings and are starting to get cabin fever, you can use online resources to host virtual game nights, dinner parties and happy hours, watch movies or stream music, start a book club or have a group workout.
Game apps such as Monopoly, UNO and Words with Friends are great ways to pass the time and can be played against other people or in practice modes (so you can get a head start on that pesky friend who always wins everything!), on smartphones, tablets, and game consoles. Netflix Party is perfect for movie buffs missing the cinema or binge watchers of the latest hit TV show – all you need is a Netflix subscription and a Chrome extension, and voila, you can all watch together. There is also a chatroom and you can see when someone joins the party.
Not everyone feels comfortable talking on the phone (especially via video – that requires effort!), so why not hark back to the days of writing to loved ones near and far? This is a good way for the younger members of the family to practice reading and writing skills, while older children and adults could use this as a means of staying up to date with popular culture. Something as simple as a Google Doc allows everyone to join in, whether it is information about work commitments and schedules, movie and music recommendations, or writing a daily personal journal – a good way of checking up on everyone’s mental health.
Whatever your age, wherever you live, the simple act of giving a quick call or sending a message to a friend or family member is priceless. Ask them how they’re feeling and what they’re doing with their days, and most importantly make sure they are coping with self isolation. Together we will all cope better with these uncertain times.