Every second Monday in February, British Columbians celebrate Family Day. A relatively recent addition to the province’s list of statutory holidays, Family Day was created to give people a dedicated day off to spend with their loved ones.
In many ways, technology hinders us from spending “quality time” with family and friends. It seems that wherever we go, people are more focused on their mobile devices than each other. It’s therefore not surprising that spending quality time with someone – whether to romp outdoors, share a meal or just hang out – is usually synonymous with turning off, or least ignoring one’s iPhone and computer for the duration. That said, there are some ways in which technology can help bring families together.
One of the biggest hurdles to families spending quality time together is actually finding the time to do so. Between school, sports, appointments, volunteering, hobbies and work, modern families are perpetually on the go. For busy lives like this, family time-management apps can help.
The primary purpose of these apps is to keep track of each family member’s schedule and merge them into a comprehensive calendar. But they can also remind us to schedule time for family activities and help identify when to slot this in. Furthermore, shared to-do lists and other tools can make everyone more efficient, leading to more free time for family-focused fun.
Praised by Parents, Working Mother and the Wall Street Journal, COZI is a front-runner in family organizer apps. The basic app is free, but COZI is also available in a paid version. (The main draw of the paid version is its lack of ads, which restrict the viewing space on your screen.)
Sadly, we don’t all have the luxury of living near those to whom we are related. Thankfully, there are apps that can connect you to face-to-screen with Granny and cousin Bob whether they live in Ireland or Timbuktu.
Using your device’s front facing camera, video calling apps allow you to see the person with whom you are conversing and vice versa. Your choice of apps is dictated by the brands of the devices you are both using. Whatever app you use, it’s best be connected to Wifi during the call if possible since videos require lots of data.
On Apple products, Facetime is the go-to app for video chats. It comes pre-installed on newer-model iPhones and iPods, but must be enabled with an Apple ID during the initial device set-up or at a later date under Settings. There are two ways to use FaceTime. The first option is to initiate a regular phone call, then activate FaceTime to add the video component. Option two is to just make a FaceTime Audio call. A benefit of the second method is that it connects callers through Apple’s servers instead of eating up cell phone minutes.
FaceTime is Apple-compatible only. If the person you wish to call has an Android- or Windows-based device, you’ll need to use something else. Skype and WhatsApp are popular alternatives. They are both free and easy to set-up. Thanks for reading! That’s it from this weeks Simply Blog, we wish you all a happy Family Day!