Do you remember when video chatting still seemed like a far-off, futuristic technology? These days, it’s as commonplace as calling someone on the phone. If you’ve never given it a try, this is the perfect time to learn how to video chat. We’re all stuck at home to help curb the spread of COVID-19, and many of us are missing our family and friends. Though it may seem complicated, most video chatting programs are quite simple and provide a fun, easy way to keep in touch with loved ones.
How to Video Chat
Choose an easy, intuitive program.
If you already have an Apple device, such as an iPhone or iPad, FaceTime is likely your best bet. It’s already installed on your device, and using it is almost as simple as answering a phone call. However, you can only call people who have Apple devices as well. If FaceTime won’t work for your needs, consider using Skype or Google Duo, which can be downloaded to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you have an Android phone, it may already have Google Duo installed.
Not sure which option to choose? Ask the person you want to chat with which application they prefer. If they’re familiar with a certain option, they can help you install the application and understand it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Learning how to use new technology is often frustrating, but it’s well worth it in the end. If you’re struggling to get started, try asking for help. If you’re at a retirement community, ask a staff member to assist you. You could also try asking a friend, a caregiver, a librarian, or even the person you’re trying to contact. Of course, Google is also a great resource. With a quick online search, you can find a step-by-step tutorial for whichever application you prefer.
Typically, you only need to complete four steps to start video chatting:
- Download and install the application. Once it is installed on your phone, tablet, or computer, you can launch the application to get started.
- Set up an account. You will likely need to create a username and password. Write these down if you think you’ll forget them, and keep them in a safe place.
- Set up your contact list. Ask the person you want to call for their username and add it to your list of contacts. With some applications, this isn’t necessary.
- Make the call. Initiate a phone call with your loved one. You may find it easier to ask your loved one to call you – then you can simply answer the call.
It’s not as intimidating or complex as you might think. And getting started is the hardest part; once you jump over that hurdle and become comfortable with the technology, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to learn how to video chat!
Accept the imperfections.
Your connection likely won’t be perfect. You may experience audio issues, poor video quality, delays, and dropped calls. As regular video chatters know, this is unfortunately quite common. If the problems persist and make it impossible to carry on a conversation, you may need to do some troubleshooting. Otherwise, don’t let a few hiccups ruin your call. Be patient with the technology and accept that it likely won’t work perfectly.
An app can’t replace in-person interaction, but it’s a tremendously useful option when you want to chat with someone who lives far away (or you’re in the midst of a global pandemic). It can help you connect with your friends and family and share important events, like holidays and birthdays. Plus, unlike a phone call, it allows you to share a visual experience in real time. You could watch a friend open a birthday gift, have your daughter give you a tour of her apartment, or ask your grandkids to share their art projects. Just because you can’t visit your friends and family members right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them.
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