Video telephony brings long distance family members closer


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Distance is not a barrier to connecting with children or grandchildren for those who have a video chat app

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A grandchild’s laughter is contagious, as all grandparents know.  Sometimes, there’s just a need to hear that magic giggle.

For those who can’t visit their grandchildren often, the next best thing now is video telephony. It is far cheaper than an airline ticket or a tank of gas. These days, video chatting is almost as easy as calling, and it is much more fun.

FaceTime is just the Apple version of video chatting. It is specifically for Apple product users. It will not work with Android or Windows.

FaceTime can be used on an iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac computer. To use it, simply open up the FaceTime app, and then tap the plus sign. Next, type the person’s phone number, or if saved in contacts, the name will appear when typing begins.

FaceTime also can be accessed during a voice phone call by tapping the FaceTime icon.

To reach someone on FaceTime with an iPad, iPod Touch or Mac computer, type in the email address.

For those who have FaceTime, grandchildren can quickly gain access.

Skype is one of the staple video chatting products. It has been around for years. The uniqueness of Skype is that it works on any type of device with a Microsoft account.

Skype is compatible with computers, tablets, mobile devices, even the Xbox One console. Skype to Skype calls are free anywhere, which is another perk.

To use Skype, just download it to a phone or computer, create an account and sign in. Loved ones will need a Skype account as well. There are some premium Skype features that are extra such as SMS texts, landline calls and voicemail.

Users can transmit text, video, audio and images through Skype.

For more information, go to skype.com and search for how do I get started.

For those who have an Android and want something for their phone, just go to apps on the phone and access the menu icon. Once at the menu bar, tap the call settings and a video calling option should become available.

One of the most common Android apps is Duo, which enables users to chat with contacts on a phone. To use Duo, download it from Google Play. Allow Duo to take pictures and video, access contacts, record audio and view and send text messages.

There are many Android and Apple apps available such as Houseparty, which can be used by several family members at the same time.

A Wi-Fi connection or mobile data plan is required for all video phone products.