Using video calls to keep in touch during social distancing

By The Health News Team | April 16, 2020
Using video calls to keep in touch during social distancing

With social distancing here for the time being, face-to-face communication has gone virtual. From checking in with family and friends to regularly scheduled meetings, video calls have become the go-to method for staying in touch.

While the physical distance may leave us feeling isolated, being socially connected can help us reach out to those we are used to seeing on a regular basis, as well as maintain our mental well-being.

The learning curve has been steep for some who have never made a video call before. There are many benefits of using the technology, but don’t forget to take steps to keep your calls secure and remember basic etiquette.

Video calling is easy to set up and usually free. As long as your laptop, tablet or mobile device has a camera, you can use an app or web program to connect. For professional interactions, video conferencing allows for collaborative work and document sharing while continuing to move projects forward.

On a personal level, you can keep in touch with loved ones regardless of distance and “see” each other.

However, recent incidents of uninvited participants disrupting events from online classes to social gatherings highlight the security issues that come with the technology.

If you’re using a video conferencing platform for the first time, remember to:

  • Create a unique code for each call instead of using the personal meeting ID assigned when you signed up for an account

  • Set up a waiting room that allows the host to control who is able to join the call

  • Lock the meeting if all attendees are present

  • Disable auto saving chats

  • Read the fine print about how your data might be shared

When preparing for your call:

  • Check your volume levels and connection

  • Learn how to mute and unmute your line, especially if you have children or pets

  • Enable your video so that others can see you

  • Look at what displays in your background and add a virtual one if available

  • Turn off your video and mute if you need to use the bathroom or do anything you don’t want to broadcast

As you participate in more video calls, you’ll start to settle in and, hopefully, enjoy the experience of seeing others until you’re able to meet in person again.

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