Self-isolation: How to stay social with your loved ones
By Emma Gardner, Director of Aubergine, a tech focussed PR agency
With vulnerable groups and people with symptoms of coronavirus having to self-isolate, the way we communicate with friends and family has changed dramatically in a number of days.
But the plethora of technology available to us means we are better able to communicate with friends and loved ones more effectively than ever before. If anything, I’ve found I’m speaking to my family and friends more than before using video chat platforms.
It’s the perfect opportunity to get a little creative with how we communicate and perhaps even return to some more traditional methods to keep in touch, such as letter writing.
Here are some ideas for how to embrace tech to stay social – for elderly relatives, they might need a little helping hand on how to set up some of these platforms:
- Virtual dinners and parties – Restaurants around the country are shutting up shop but you could help support them by ordering a takeaway from them if they offer this service, then organise a Google Hangout with your family so you can all eat together. Simply set up the phone or laptop at the head of the table and invite people to your Hangout – it’ll be almost like you’re all together in person! Alternatively, host a “party” complete with games like charades that you can do together.
- Online movie nights – Most people have access to Netflix or Amazon Prime. Arrange with friends and family to all hit play at the same time on your favourite film or series, then chat about any plot twists or cliff hangers using WhatsApp or simple SMS messages. Even better, Netflix has launched a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party which enables family members to watch something simultaneously
- Digital book clubs – Now is the perfect time to delve into a good story for a bit of escapism. You could set up a dedicated Facebook Group then create a poll to decide on a book you and your friends would like to read – preferably nothing too apocalyptic! Then when everyone has finished it you can use the platform to post your thoughts on it, with people commenting and generating conversation. If you don’t fancy setting up a book club, how about creating a group for cheese and wine tasting?
- Techie play dates – With schools closed, children will soon develop cabin fever – and so will their parents. Use the likes of FaceTime, WhatsApp and Skype to have virtual coffee and cake meet ups with other parents, then allow kids to use these platforms to catch up with their own friends
- Not so ‘bored’ games – Now is the perfect time to dust off the Monopoly board and engage in a virtual board game with pals. Using Jackbox Party Games, you can share your computer screen using Zoom or Google Hangouts then everyone else can engage in the game on their phones
Whilst we’re lucky to have all this technology at our hands, it’s also the perfect time to return to simpler times in the way we communicate. With grandparents missing out on seeing their grandchildren for a long period of time, children could write letters to them outlining what they’ve been up to that day including some drawings and paintings they’ve done.