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5 ways you to help you stay in touch with family and friends

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5 ways tech can help you stay in touch with family and friends

With more people self-isolating and elderly relatives increasingly affected by coronavirus, find out how you can keep in touch, or help others do the same

1. WhatsApp

One of the most popular messaging apps around is also great for making audio and video calls. These use data, so if you’re not on a wi-fi connection, keep an eye on your use to make sure you don’t end up with unexpected charges.

Another big benefit of WhatsApp is that calls cost the same (in terms of data use) wherever in the world you are – so it’s a great option for staying in touch with people based abroad.

2. Skype or Apple’s FaceTime

There are plenty of alternatives to WhatsApp, though they work slightly differently.

Skype is a free-to-download app that lets you call other Skype accounts for free. Once you’ve signed up using your email address, you can begin building your Skype address book. This service also lets you send regular texts, pictures and videos.

3. Alexa Drop In

Smart speakers aren’t just for checking the weather and building a shopping list. One of the more recent advancements allows Alexa smart speaker users to ‘drop in’ on others, which is similar to a phone call, but has the advantage of being completely hands-free, so you can chat while moving around the home.

4. Video calling with Google Duo

If you and a friend or family member both own a Google-based smart display, you’ll be able to use Google Duo to make a video call. Duo calls are currently available on the Google Nest Hub and Google Nest Hub Max.

5. Don’t forget the landline

Many still see the landline as a go-to when it comes to keeping in touch, and with most modern landline phones coming with features such as hands-free calling and an answerphone, it shouldn’t be forgotten as a useful way to keep in contact, especially with those who aren’t confident with a mobile phone or laptop, or who don’t own one.