The impact of forced isolation has had ripple effects far beyond what many of us imagined when this pandemic began. For many families, life was already pretty hectic, now add juggling working from home, home schooling, trying to keep kids occupied 24/7, and limited ability to move around, all while being separated from extended family, friends and support networks. Is it any surprise that parents are struggling?
The current situation has the potential to significantly impact a person’s mental wellbeing, and this is exacerbated for parents who are trying to occupy and entertain restless kids, with no break in sight.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever for parents to stay connected with family, friends and their community. A little social interaction (whatever form it takes) goes a long way in boosting mental wellbeing and resilience. Plus, there’s no better remedy for a long and trying day than a good debrief with a good friend.
For those feeling a little disconnected and who haven’t got socialising during isolation down pat yet, here are five great apps to keep families connected and thoroughly entertained during this tricky time.
Video calls are a great way to stay connected to loved ones near and far.
Momatu is a free app designed to connect families by providing them with their own private space to capture, sort and share life’s most precious memories with one another.
Momatu allows users to co-create beautiful timelines of their children and family including photos, video recordings, journal entries and other memories, ensuring that friends and family don’t miss out on life’s keeper moments, even when they’re apart. It’s an intimate platform that allows parents to connect and share with those they choose to, not the whole world.
Momatu is available on mobile and desktop.
Houseparty is a face to face social network that makes video chatting easy and fun. It’s fast become the go-to app for kids to chat, as well as for parents to catch up over a virtual wine.
Houseparty draws on your personal contact list to help you create a network of friends, it will then alert you to when your friends are ‘in the house’, and it’s as simple as logging in and joining a video chat room.
A fun feature of House Party is that you can play games during chat sessions including trivia, heads up, Pictionary and Apples to Apples. Now there’s no excuse for having no plans on Saturday night even in isolation!
Houseparty is available on mobile and desktop.
Zoom is the original online conference room solution, however it’s taken on a new meaning as the go-to way for people to catch up all over the world.
Even using the basic, free account, you can have up to 100 people on the platform for up to 40 minutes at a time. People are even hosting ‘zoom parties’ with dozens of people connecting at once.
Simply schedule your catchup and send a code to family and friends for them to join in at the designated time. Zoom is available on mobile and desktop.
Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that allows users to simultaneously stream content on the Netflix streaming platform, with anyone in the group able to pause, rewind or fast forward – so everyone is always on the same time frame.
It’s a great way to watch a movie with the extended family or catch up on the latest binge-worthy series with a friend. Users can chat with others in the sidebar for a full group viewing experience.
Marco Polo is similar to FaceTime but works for both Android and iOS users.
The app lets you record and leave video messages for your loved ones. Since it’s not live, you can exchange video messages at your leisure, which is great for busy parents who can’t always respond in the moment.
Videos are saved as well, so they won’t disappear after a certain amount of time and are always available for users to watch again later.
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