When I left home for UF as a freshman, my parents had serious empty nest syndrome and wanted to call me a lot. I wasn’t up for chatting as much as they were, but I was homesick so video calling once or twice a week was nice. Of course, I had to teach my parents how to download apps to their phones and use Skype. Explaining that over the phone was no easy feat let me tell you.
Your mom and dad may be equally clueless about technology, but it should be pretty easy to catch them up – especially when it means staying in better touch with you while you’re at school.
Here are a few features I use to KIT with everyone at home:
Video chat – My parents like how easy Skype’s video calling feature is to use - and I love that it’s on my DROID phone so I can chat wherever I am. I also use Skype on my laptop with Verizon’s 4G LTE wireless Internet, which is so fast it’s fantastic!
Your parents simply need to download Skype to their Verizon Wireless 4G LTE device from the Android Market or iTunes. But first they must create a Skype login name and password, which they can do at Skype.com.
Your entire fam can video chat at the same time from different devices using Google Hangout via the Google+ mobile app. Google+ mimics the concept of “circles of friends,” allowing you to choose people to include in specific social circles: family, friends, acquaintances, etc. So create a family circle, schedule a Google Hangout and chat away! Have your parents check out this video if they need more info:
A few free live video apps my friends like to use: Justin.tv, Ustream and LiveStream.
Texting – If your parents are anything like mine, they fall victim to spell-check mishaps and a general misunderstanding of text lingo (like how “KIT” means “keep in touch”). An easy remedy for this is voice-activated texting on Android and iPhone. Using Iris (Android) or Siri (iPhone 4S), your parents simply speak into their phone and it creates a text for them, hands-free. Easy breezy!
YouTube, etc. – Let’s face it. As students, we’re busy and don’t always have time to chat with our parents. That’s why it’s a great idea to have your own private YouTube channel, create a mobile blog you post to regularly, or email videos to your parents using apps like Socialcam. Your parents can check your updates and know you’re alive, and won’t feel compelled to call or text more than you’d like.
More fun ideas -- I gave my parents access to my Amazon wish list so they always know the gifts and goodies I’m craving. My mom still sends me care packages almost every month - it’s so nice!
What are your favorite ways to connect with people back home? What fun ideas do you have to share? Leave your comments below.