Learning How to Use Video Chat to Connect with Loved Ones

Woman Video Chatting

By Kinsey Gidick, AARP

Covid-19 has limited communication with others during the last several months. Health experts continue to recommend social distancing from your friends and family, which means video chatting is one of the main sources of communication with them during this difficult time.

This pandemic has made resources like Zoom and Facetime more popular than ever before. Many have come to realize, however, that these resources can be difficult to maneuver at times and those who aren't tech savvy may find the learning curve quite intimidating and overwhelming. Another challenge people are facing is a lack of connection. Keeping a child, grandparent, friends, etc. engaged and excited through video chatting is not always an easy task!

To address this, we need to find ways to make using these digital tools easier and more entertaining. Shelby Hoefling, a wellness coach and yoga teacher from Virginia, wrote a children's book called Grandma's in the Phone. This book was inspired by Hoefling's Facetime calls with her grandmother who lives in Pennsylvania. It is a story about Mac and his grandmother staying in touch through online calls, along with tips for making Facetime and Zoom calls successful.

When you are on an online call with your loved ones, you should try your best to make it meaningful. Get creative with different activities on a Zoom call if you're looking for some different ways to interact. Tami Kelley plays Candyland with her 5-year-old grandson, Horatio, over Facetime by simply pointing his iPad camera down at the gameboard. You can do this with puzzles, books or anything of interest to you and your virtual guest.

When it comes to actual conversations, the key is to stay away from vague questions. For example, if you're talking to children, ask specific questions to keep them engaged. Ask them about their favorite sports team, a current project that they are working on, what kind of things have they been learning in school, etc. Just remember, meaningful conversations are what will enhance the video chatting experience for everyone.

Although it's been a challenging year, one thing we can be thankful for is the availability of technology to help us stay close to our loved ones. Keep reading to learn more about keeping yourself and others engaged during video calls during Covid-19.

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