Wooden blocks spelling 'new normal'

Connecting with family while social distancing

Parker Gallagher

Hello, new normal

We’ve been under lockdown, in some form or another, for the better part of a year, and this has led to a new term describing how people feel — "Social Distance Stress." Fortunately, while we adapt to the “new normal,” many tech companies have updated their products to be useful for people during this prolonged season of social distancing. Here are the top six ways to continue staying connected with family and friends while remaining socially distanced.

1. Take advantage of video chat platforms

Even before the world went into isolation, there were tons of different ways to video chat with family and friends, like Apple’s FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Facebook Video Calling. Take advantage of any of these useful tools to stay connected with family and friends. It may not be the same as being there in person, but it‘s definitely the next best thing. 

2. Play games virtually with friends and family

In the rise of social distancing and staying in, companies with video chat capabilities have really stepped up their “game.” Facebook, Houseparty and Zoom have optimized their video chat capabilities to include ways to play games virtually from websites, or in applications while sharing screens. With a little creativity, you and your friends and family will be having fun like old times.

3. Have meals or happy hours together virtually

Bonding over food is the world’s oldest form of bringing people together, and we shouldn’t let it stop now! Set up virtual dinner parties, enjoy happy hours and cook the same meals together over video chat services such as Zoom. While you’re at it, incorporate a game or two for some added fun. 

4. Have a good old fashioned phone call or send a snail mail

Hop in the time machine and let’s go back to simpler times. Sometimes a phone call and just hearing someone's voice can cure the pain of feeling lonely. Writing letters through snail mail is a lost art, or so they say. Write a letter to someone you’re thinking about, and it will brighten their day. Being able to hold a letter from a loved one can fill that void of in-person interaction. 

5. Watch a movie or TV show together virtually

Now back to today’s world… Just as video chat capabilities have integrated for games, you can watch movies and TV shows with friends and family virtually. Pop some popcorn, grab a beverage and tune in with your loved ones for a movie night. Netflix has joined with Google to make NetflixParty, enabling your friends and family to enjoy a film together. 

6. Enjoy concerts or tours virtually

Rounding out our top six is enjoying social events from home. Stay on your couch and go to the zoo, or a concert or even a national park. Artists, Museums, Parks and many other attractions have made it possible to do all the things people love to do outside, but virtually. Most of these events are streamed on Facebook or YouTube, so a google search will usually turn up what you’re looking for.

Resources we suggest to stay connected

  • Cards.io - Play cards together, virtually with friends and family. 
  • Caribu - Great to connect kids with other kids, family, and grandparents through video chat and games.
  • Houseparty - Video Chat platform with built in games
  • Zoom - Video Chat Platform with capabilities for games (including video and board games), movies, and more. 
  • Jackbox Games - Platform to play board games, video games, and anything in between online together, virtually
  • Netflix Party - Download and enjoy movies and TV shows with friends and family, virtually.
  • Google Hangouts - This another video chat service good for groups of two or more.
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