Online video calls

Keeping in touch online: your technology essentials

With social distancing keeping us apart from friends, family and the clubs we love, people are becoming more and more creative in their ways of spending time together. And with technology such as video calling at our fingertips, these things are easier to do than you think.

We have some great ideas to keep you occupied and help you get online to keep telling your stories, laughing with friends and even playing your favourite games. 

We’re happier after a video call than a phone call

Apps like FaceTime and Zoom make it easy to have an online video call with friends and family and actually see their faces. Professor Sophie Scott, Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, told Sky News that “it’s been proven that video calling is just as good at making you feel as happy as a face-to-face conversation”. They found it was better than a phone call and more beneficial than a text or email. Though these are still brilliant ways to connect.

We love FaceTime and Zoom is just as easy. So if you were wondering how to make a video call these apps make it really simple. It’s really lovely when someone calls unexpectedly and truly brightens up your day. We’ve also heard of lots of fun going on between groups of friends passing the time together. Here are our favourites.

Start a Home Pub Quiz

You might not be able to pop to your local but who needs to when you can create your own. Simply nominate a quiz master and get a group together who can connect to you by FaceTime. There’s even an app designed just for this called HouseParty. Friends and family can get together for a good old bit of rivalry to pitch your wits against each other with plenty of laughs.

Play Charades

Or why not enjoy an evening get together playing charades? Pour your favourite tipple and settle down to enjoy a bit of fun with pals. Each of you think of a few film, book and TV titles before you start, and take your turn to act them out making sure your friends can see your actions. There are even online charades generators that will come up with the ideas for you. Set a time of one minute for each player to keep the fun going between you all. Whoever guesses the most wins. Simple!

Is Bingo calling?

This works best with lots of people and you can even print your own bingo cards here, Choose one bingo caller who picks numbers from a hat. The best bit is you can sort your own prizes, from a chocolate bar to a piece of cake or something stronger!

Join an online choir

This is a great way to make new friends and find a new hobby. If it’s something you’ve always fancied but haven’t had the time to do or don’t live near a choir, now’s your chance to join a virtual one.

Be part of an online book club

All you readers out there will love connecting with an online book club. It can combine a passion for literature with a great way to meet new, like-minded people. It’s easy to join one – there are a few mentioned in this article by The Guardian, or why not start your own book club? The best bit is you don’t even have to leave your own armchair to join in. What’s not to love? 

Enjoy exercise with Joe Wicks

If you like getting the joints moving and the blood flowing, the internet sensation, Joe Wicks, has got some great fitness exercises on his YouTube channel. You can watch them live and join in with the nation or playback your favourite ones whenever you like, as often as you like. It’s a great bit of fun and you can do it at your own pace. Make sure to get changed into your activewear  before you start so you can really get your sweat on! Joe also has shorter home workouts for seniors or those looking for something a bit lighter.

It’s true. A study by Pew Research shows that the fastest growing group to take on digital tech is the seniors. It helps lower depression, you can see grandchildren and check everyone’s okay and still keep those vital connections with friends. It’s a real tonic we all need right now and smartphones, tablets and laptops are easier to use than ever. With Google helping you find just about anything, we think it’s a brilliant time to embrace technology.

Go for it. You never know. You might like it!

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