Pings, tags and swipes – oh my! Smartphones and other connected devices constantly pull us in all sorts of directions, with each app desperately vying for our attention. With all things now digital, you may feel as though making a connection with loved ones is more difficult than ever – even with those who live under the same roof.
Though technology can be a distraction, there are some excellent apps and gadgets in the marketplace today that help to bring family and friends together, regardless of whether they live down the hall or across the pond. Using modern technology to keep in touch is easy – and we aren’t just talking about for the younger demographic. Baby boomers are getting comfortable with using technology to communicate with their grandchildren, and some research has shown that more than 75%
learn about technology from their grandkids. What a great bonding experience!
If bonding time is something you could use more of, we’ve pulled together a few ideas for connecting with friends and family for conversation, laughs, games and goodwill:
- Bring everyone around the virtual table with “smart” video calling
Smartphones, smart locks, smart homes. It was bound to happen, but what exactly is smart video calling? Well, you may have seen the ads on TV, but essentially there are devices in the marketplace right now that automatically adjust to movement, zoom in and out based on who is in the frame and enhance sound to provide a truly personalized video calling experience. With this type of technology, your family can move around the room easily and freely without leaving those on the other end repeating, “What did you say? Can you come closer?” With a streamlined experience, it’ll be easier to catch up with those near and far, as long as everyone’s calendars are in sync.
- Spice up game night using modern tech
Using technology to connect with those you love doesn’t mean connecting simply with those who live in different zip codes. Tech can also unite members of your household for an exciting weekly game night. Did you know that many classic board games are now available for play via mobile apps? Digitizing the board game experience may incentivize younger family members to participate in games that have encouraged laughs for generations. And if keeping score becomes a challenge, don’t worry! Just open up one of the many apps available for keeping track of who’s on top of the leaderboard.
If you’re really looking to go crazy with tech on game night, there’s a whole host of robotic gadgets that can be both fun and educational, all while being controlled with your smartphone. Many options on the market have games already programmed in, and some can even learn to recognize faces and interact by expressing emotion.
Lastly, if popcorn is a can’t-live-without during family game night, there’s even an app to make sure kernels are popped to perfection.
- Don’t forget about social media
Ah yes, the source of all those pesky notifications. But social media doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and the various sites and apps do provide an always-on way to connect with loved ones near and far. Staying in touch in the past often meant only seeing extended family maybe once every five years at the good ol’ family reunion, or old friends at high school reunions. But with social media, you can bring these reunions online whenever and wherever you’d like.
The visual nature of social media streamlines the ways friends and family communicate emotion (yes, through selfies!), travel experiences or important milestones like birthdays and graduations. Sharing photos and updates connects everyone from worlds away.
If social media really isn’t your jam, there’s always the option of texting. With texting, there’s little to no learning curve since text messages are already a part of daily life. In fact, the number of messages sent
has increased by more than 7,700% per month over the last decade worldwide. Group texts are a quick and easy way to stay in touch with a large group of people in a manner that isn’t too time-consuming or intrusive.
Technology is plentiful these days and there are many options out there that can help make the world a smaller place – even by bringing family members around the table for game night. Great distances can be traversed at the speed of Wi-Fi allowing you to raise a virtual glass and share a toast with those closest to you anytime you’d like.