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Everyone I’ve spoken to over the past couple of days has been anxious. I know I have been. I’m waking up with a tight chest and can already feel myself going stir-crazy. But it’s not the working from home that’s getting to me, or the shortage of toilets rolls. I’ve even (kind of) gotten over the fact that I can’t go to the gym. It’s knowing that I can’t see many of my friends and loved ones for the foreseeable future that has made my mood plummet.
Still, I know I am one of the lucky ones – yes, the crisis has meant I now have to work from home, but I am with my immediate family. Some people are completely isolated. With that in mind, I’ve been on the hunt for the best ways to keep in touch. It’s not just tricky for grandparents; there’s also the extroverts and “people people” who are now also having to spend huge amounts of time alone in an era when we’ve all recognised how good talking is for our mental health. So how can we be social in a time of social distancing?
Luckily, we live in the 21st century, so keeping in touch sans *actual* touch is easier than it was circa 1918 (when the last enforced, large-scale isolation occurred). Most of us have got iPhones, many have tablets and the majority are clued up on social apps. But if you’re still struggling to feel connected, it might help to scroll through our edit of the best video technologies to keep you (and your loved ones) in touch.
The new Facebook Portal, available from Currys, is a really simple tablet with a built-in Alexa. It acts as a window into your home, allowing you to make calls through Whatsapp and Messenger. Since it has been designed with video calling in mind, there aren’t too many other features. This makes it ideal for older relatives who may not be as tech savvy as you. And you could get it delivered directly to their door.
The iPad 10 is another great piece of video technology which will ensure you and your family feel more connected than ever. It accommodates FaceTime, as all Apple devices do, and has a great front-facing camera, fast internet connectivity and audio support. Or how about the Samsung Tab A? Available in black, gold and silver, it boasts a much more accessible price point than other tablets.
When it comes to apps, there’s Skype (which has around 300 million active users per month around the globe for good reason) as well as Whatsapp and Messenger. Messenger has operated separately from the Facebook app for a couple of years now, so anyone can set themselves up without needing a Facebook account. You’ll be able to have a group video call in no time. Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service (perfect for catching up with colleagues – Team GLAMOUR has been using it religiously) which allows you to chat by video, audio or both, and Google Hangouts also allows you to video call in groups.
It might seem obvious, but setting up daily meetings with colleagues and regular catch-ups with family and friends really is the best way to get you through the tricky period. I’ll be practising virtual dinner dates and cyber cocktail evenings in a bid to take the loneliness out of isolation. It’s the new way to be social. For now, at least.
Here are the best video technologies and apps to stay connected with your loved ones during lockdown.