As you are no doubt aware, we are heavily recommended to be keeping social distance from one another and in some cases remain in isolation. In order to meet those demands, many of us have started living in our own home and work from it.
But while we are preventing the spread of the coronavirus this way, there is another issue that arises: loneliness. We are social creatures and there is a need for us to have physical contact even if it’s from friends or family.
And sure, maybe we can put up with this for ten months or even a year. However some disease experts have suggested that we may have enforce social distance rules at least up to 2022. Citing the fact that COVID-19 is a virus that we can’t really predict its future course or whether it’ll adapt and change into something different. No one knows.
Thankfully many app developers have been working away at various solutions to address the social issues that can arise. Naturally, these folks have developed fantastic apps that I’d like to share with you all. These apps will allow you to have fun while also staying connected with loved ones.
Do note these are different from the various video conference apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Messenger, Zoom, and others of that nature. These are amazing apps that pack a lot of value. On top of that these apps are all free!
One of the most popular apps that have been used a lot in isolation is Tik- I mean – Houseparty. It’s advertised as a face to face social network. This free app will let you video chat with up to 8 people at a time and is easy to jump into.
Your main menu’s default display is whatever is in the front-facing camera of your phone. Swipe up and you’ll see your friend list (and an option to add them by name through contacts, Facebook or via a link).
But wait, all of this sounds like any plain video chat right? How is this a house party? Well the video chat is only one of the few functionalities Houseparty has. The other notable one is shown through a dice icon. This will bring up the game options. And while there aren’t a lot of them to pick from, it better than having none at all. Tapping the plus button on the right will allow you to add friends and begin playing. You can also lock the room as well to prevent random people joining your games too.
All in all it’s a nice twist to the typical video calls and can break up the conversations with something fun.
The second app to cover is Marco Polo. In terms of functionality the best way to describe it is that it’s like the game “Marco Polo” but in digital form. This app allows you the opportunity to leave behind personalized messages for people via video chat, though it’s not in a live feed.
In short, you leave behind a video, or “Polo”, which the other person will get around to seeing once they get the chance. This app is incredible in instances where the time difference is complicated or you don’t have time to sit down and have a video chat with them.
For the people who are still working or studying and don’t have much time, this is an avenue where you can stay in touch with people while still getting ample time to do the other things you’ve been doing.
With social distance guidelines enforced for a very long time, theaters have been forced to close their doors. On top of that, people can’t simply come over to your place for a movie night. Fortunately there is a solution in the form of Netflix Party.
This is a Chrome extension rather than an app on your phone. All that you’ll need to do is get that extension and watch a movie or show as normal. Once you’re there, you’ll notice an icon labeled NP. By clicking that, you’ll be given a URL which you can then share with other people. Once you share that link, all the person on the other end needs to do is click on it to join.
What’s even nicer about this is that a chat box opens up which allows people to talk while the movie or show is playing. It doesn’t make any pinging sounds or anything so it’s not even disruptive.
Next up is Bunch, which is another version of Houseparty. It’s a video chatting app that puts more emphasis on games. It’s been called ‘the Discord of mobile games’ which is high praise seeing as Discord is one of the top chat platforms for gaming.
But don’t panic if your gaming skills aren’t up to par. Most of the games are family friendly and easy to get into. You’ve got trivia, drawing, and charades for those looking for casual experiences. There are also more challenging games on the platform with even well known titles like Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft.
The fact they’re all crammed into a mobile platform is incredible and worth considering if you and friends and family want to play games.
Bonus Apps To Try Out
There are so many kind of apps out there to try out and experience. Below I’ve put together four more bonus apps that you can try out. Some you may have heard of but others maybe not. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these:
- Zoom. I mentioned at the beginning and I’m sure most people are definitely aware of this platform. You can use it for business or to chat with friends and family. There are many other alternatives that you can use as well.
- JusTalk. It’s similar to Zoom and all them in that it supports video calls, but this ones exceeds many limitations other video meeting platforms use. Most times you can only get away with 10 or 15 people on a free plan if you’re lucky. This supports up to 50 for free! If you’re doing larger events or meetings, use this platform to help it run smoothly.
- Glide. Another great app for those who want to be chatting but still doing something productive. With this app you can create your own apps from spreadsheets while video chatting. It’s great if you want to be working with friends or families or chat while you’re working.
- QuizUp. As the name suggests, this is an app that allows you to do quizzes. It’s been the top app of this type for years, offering up fun quizzes you can do with friends and family. It also covers a wide array of topics.
While these apps will never be able to replace our friends, family, or loved ones, these can help in staying connected with them. If you ever get the time – which I’m sure you do since you’re reading this – contact them and tell them about these apps. These apps are fun and are suitable for anyone of age. Try them out, they’re free anyway.