Can we all agree that the past year has been tough? The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and has changed the way most of us live our everyday lives. There is a long list of changes we have had to adapt to, and one of those is the social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC.1 These guidelines have largely affected the way we can spend time with our loved ones, which just adds fuel to the fire of this difficult year. Here are some ways you can connect with your friends and family during these hard times while maintaining social distancing.
Nothing beats being able to see the faces of your loved ones, but social distancing guidelines can make doing so difficult. However, video calls offer an easy, safe solution to this problem. With video calls you can often add multiple people to the call and could use it to share events, or even play games. Here are a few free options you can use for video calls:
- Facebook Messenger Video Chat
Due to social distancing, gone, at least temporarily, are the days of having a group over for a movie marathon, and meeting up at a movie theater may not be an option either. Teleparty is a free Google extension that allows you to watch shows and movies together across multiple locations2. With the extension, you can invite friends to a watch party by sharing a URL, and the show or movie is then synchronized across all members of the party. The extension also offers a chat box where you can talk with one another (but without the annoyance of extra noise if you were talking in person). The extension works across Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime.
Who doesn’t love challenging their friends to a friendly competition? While you may not be able to get together for a traditional game night, there are tons of games available online you can play with your friends. You can play games via a gaming system such as Xbox or PlayStation, on your computer, or even from your smartphone. Whether you prefer board games, action games, racing games, or anything else, it’s likely there is an online version you can play with your friends and family.
Having to stay distanced from loved ones can be tough but using these options can help you feel a little closer. As you connect, be sure to stay safe and follow local health department rules and CDC guidelines,1 and be aware of any privacy policies when accessing any programs or sites mentioned above.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, Jan 26). Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
2Mihaila, Razvan. (2023, Jan 15). Retrieved from: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-use-netflix-party/