Staying connected virtually

Editor: Caroline Xue

Bless technology for keeping us in touch with family and friends during this tough time! Thanks to free online messaging and video chat platforms, we have been able to safely maintain physical distance without feeling lonely and isolated.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a stark reminder that not everybody is privileged to have these services or know how to use them. Now, it’s prime time to help your neighbours or relatives get online and enjoy a new way to stay connected! Even as social distancing restrictions are being gradually scaled down, setting up to use video calling a worthwhile investment for the future. Other than global pandemics (hopefully there won’t be another too soon), these platforms are incredibly helpful for people who travel for work or leisure, who have limited mobility, or who live far from the specialist services they need.

Suncare Community Services has a wonderfully informative page that summarises a few of the most popular video calling services: Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp. Other platforms that might suit you include:

·       Facebook Messenger (widely used so many of your contacts will already be on it)
·       WeChat (similar to Facebook and popular with Chinese communities)
·       Zoom (popular for meetings and conferences)
·       Google Duo (often preinstalled on Android devices)
Zoom has skyrocketed in popularity with schools and universities who are continuing education at a distance. Here are some quick and simple videos explaining how to use it, from setting up an account to using the most advanced features.

Let us know in the comments if there are any other useful apps or site you like to use, and feel free to share any helpful pages for first-time users!