Monday, February 16, 2015

Four Ways To Connect With Your Little People Using Video Calls

Photo Credit: NY Times

We live in a day and age when we can stay connected even though miles separate us.

I love video phone calls. It's a great way to talk face-to-face with your little people, and helps your empty arms find comfort from a full heart.

There are several different ways to make video calls to your little people. Below is the list of those I've used, and a brief description as to how to make them work.

Skype - probably the most familiar and easiest to use. However, in order to connect more than two computers you have to pay for their service, something I'd rather not do. If you're only calling one computer, this would be my recommendation, and it's free. If you need help to install Skype on your computer, check out this step by step guide.

Google Hangout - If you already have a gmail account, you'll most likely want to use this platform. Simply go to your Google Plus page (look for your name with a + sign in the top toolbar of your gmail page. In the right sidebar you'll see "Start a Hangout". Follow the prompts to invite your kids to join you in a private chat room. If you'd like step by step help click here.

ooVoo Video Chat - This is another great service that provides free calls for up to 12 computers. Great for those with families all over the place. For more information on how to install ooVoo check out this video.

Facetime - This video conferencing app can be used on your smart phone. My granddaughter, Stella, absolutely loves FaceTime. She's only 2 and knows how to find me on my daughter's phone and call me herself. It's the cutest thing when I see her face pop up on my phone. She's always in the middle of a conversation when I answer. I think once she sees my photo she thinks I can hear her. Makes me laugh every time I think of it. She carries me all over the house while she plays with her toys. If you'd like step by step help on starting with FaceTime, click this link.

The New York Times published an article 7 years ago talking about the future of grandparenting via the computer...
"Nearly half of American grandparents live more than 200 miles from at least one of their grandchildren, according to AARP. Prof. Merril Silverstein, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, has found that about two-thirds of grandchildren see one set of grandparents only a few times a year, if that. But many grandparents find that the Web cam eases the transition during in-person visits, when grandchildren may refuse to sit on their laps or may reject their hugs because they do not recognize them. As a Web cam evangelist wrote on her blog, 'You'll be able to pick up where you left off without those warming up to you, awkward moments.'"
I agree. Video chats keeps you near and dear to your grandchildren, but it can never replace the warmth of a real hug or the tenderness of a sweet kiss. I video chat with my little people quite often, and it's a time we all look forward to. But let's not let it replace it from those visits face-to-face.

How has using a web cam helped you stay connected with your grandchildren? Which of these services do you prefer and why? Won't you add your comments below, thus helping the rest of us glean from what you've found to be helpful?

Until next time...

The Faraway Nana
to Bristol, Willow and Vito in Tennessee
Norah, Bradley, Stella and Brielle in Georgia