As a grandparent of three granddaughters, two who live far away, I was worried about how to keep the bonds between grandparent and grandchild over the long distance. With technology, keeping in touch via long distances has gotten easier with online video chat options.
Skype is an online virtual chat program. The program is free and requires downloading the needed software onto a computer system. Many people worry about downloading from unknown companies, however Skype has been around for years and is highly recommended. Ensure that you know the Skype screen name of the person you are calling. Once all software is installed and all devices attached, simply enter the person’s Skype name that you are trying to contact. Your video chat on Skype is unlimited and is always free. As with all video chat programs,the computer needs a microphone and web camera. If the computer being used doesn’t have one installed, most computer have ports for added microphones and webcams.
Instant Message Video Chats
Several online mail or instant messaging services offer video chat options. AIM (America Online Messaging), Gmail (Google Mail) and Yahoo all offer free video chat options. A person must first have an account with one of these services to use the instant chat option and the person you are calling must also have an account with the service. Since most people have email, your loved ones probably already have one these three top email options. Simply ask which option they use and if you don’t already have an account with that service, create one. With most of these services, the software is already installed in their program and no downloading is required. Simply select your loved one’s screen name and click start video chat. Each service’s video chat operates somewhat differently, so it may take some time to get used to each one.
Another option for video chatting is via Facebook. Facebook considers itself social media, but does offer video calling via their instant messaging option. This is the main video chat service that I use to stay in touch with my out of town grandchildren. With Facebook. those who are online will be listed to the right side of the screen. The chat service functions the same way as most messaging services. Simply find the person’s name and click video chat.
Things change and it’s great to know that as families move further apart, grandparents can still stay in touch with grandchildren through modern technology. As for this grandmother, I still plan on the occasional snail mail letter!