Ways to stay connected virtually

Lockdown and social distancing means staying home and keeping a safe physical distance from others, which can result in it being a very lonely time. Luckily, thanks to technology, it is possible to stay in touch with the important people in your life.

Here’s how to keep communicating

Social media

Keep up with all your friends and see what they are up to on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Houseparty. You’ve probably used the first three a lot already, but if you’re new to TikTok and Houseparty, here’s what to expect. TikTok is a fun way of uploading short videos to entertain your friends and showing them how you are staying occupied. It’s all about being as creative as possible, and there are lots of fun challenges you can participate in (but just be sure not to take on any of the potentially dangerous ones). Houseparty is one of the newest apps around that allows you to interact with your friends “face-to-face” in what they call “rooms”. You can move to different rooms and interact with different groups of people, as well as play online games. Remember to adjust your settings if you only want to interact with the people you know.

The great thing about these social media apps is that they offer all sorts of ways to keep you occupied, including exercise, cooking, baking and even dancing. Participate by posting and documenting some of the ways you are keeping busy – perhaps the amazing loaf of bread you baked on the weekend?

WhatsApp Voice and Video call

Now is the best time to make use of the video call functionality on WhatsApp. Use it to get “face-to-face” interaction with your friends and family. Did you know you can video call up to 4 people at the same time? All you need to do is make a call to one of your contacts, once they have answered, click on the + icon on the top, right hand side corner of the screen and then select contacts from your list to connect to the call. You can add multiple contacts to a voice call by following the same steps. This way you can connect the whole family or let the kids catch up with their schoolmates all at once. FaceTime is another app you can use to do this.


Looking for a more professional app to connect to colleagues and to host a virtual meeting? Then try out Zoom, which is free to install and can allow you to connect up to 100 people on screen for a 40-minute meeting. You can set up meetings through your Microsoft Outlook or Gmail account, and can even share your screen for presentations. Zoom is also a great temporary venue for book club meetings and even study groups. You could also try Microsoft Teams, a similar program designed to keep work colleagues connected.

Tips for Video Calling

  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection, a poor connection might result in poor video and audio quality.
  • Remember to always check to see your sound is on (or off if you don’t want the background noise to disturb the speaker). Click on the ‘phone’ icon.
  • If you want to be seen, make sure the video is on. Click the ‘camera’ icon.
  • The camera is generally located at the top of your laptop, computer or phone. Move your device (or yourself) to make sure you are clearly seen (and at your best angle).
  • You will use less data by switching off your camera and just keeping your sound on.
  • Don’t forget that people are watching you – you don’t want to do anything embarrassing while being seen by an entire group of colleagues.

Look out for data deals

Many cellular providers are offering special deals during this time to allow you to communicate with each other. Check with your provider to find ways to communicate on social media using as little data as possible.

Click for more ideas on how to keep little ones busy during lockdown.

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