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Apps to help keep you close while socially distanced.

Apps to help keep you close while socially distanced.

As we navigate a new way of life, it’s more important than ever to stay in touch with your nearest and dearest. So, while it’s become difficult face-to-face, there are still other ways to see the smiles of your family and friends. Facetime calls, Skype and even Zoom are keeping us going.

Some say, in the 21st century – social cohesion is the best antidote to any pandemic. With social media and digital technology, we’re at least all able to stay in touch with one another remotely – even if we can’t actually pop round for a cup of coffee.

So, whether you’re stuck on socially distant ways to get together with your friends or using spare time at home to brush up on your competitive gaming skills against family, here are a few apps to help keep you connected in isolation.

Houseparty

Houseparty is a free and easy to use app, allowing users to connect with multiple friends and family members to do exactly what the app is designed for – to have a house party with all your favourite people without being in the same room. Although this face-to-face social network application was created several years ago, it’s becoming increasingly popular as the world is forced to stay home. It allows up to eight users to jump into a video group chat at any one time and even has a games functionality to help keep everyone entertained. Having teamed up with Epic Games, creators of Fortnite, playoffs on the app include heads up, trivia, quick draw and chips and guac. Using Houseparty app means you’re free to be a fully-fledged social butterfly without even having to step out of your home.

Words With Friends

An oldie but a goodie, this app really serves two purposes – it helps you mentally stay active and it unleashes your competitive edge against friends. Words With Friends is essentially a twist on the classic board game Scrabble. You have the option to play against a friend from your contact list, find a friend by username, play a random opponent, or pass-and-play with a friend on a single device.

Netflix Party

If one of your regular pastimes (pre-lockdown) was chilling on the couch with your best mate to watch the latest thriller then never fear, you can still do that – just virtually. Netflix Party is a Google extension which allows you and your friends to binge-watch Netflix shows and movies together at the same time. There’s even a real time feature to add a chat bar to the side of your screen so that viewers can express their sheer emotions when the scary part of the movie makes you all jump.

TikTok

Once driven by teens, TikTok is now being adopted by adults too. The Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, is the world’s fastest growing social media platform and now sits at more than a billion users. The video-sharing app is quick to start trending challenges that rapidly go viral among celebrities and users alike. But be warned, once you start TikTok-ing you might find it hard to stop – with billions of short videos to watch you’re sure to be entertained for hours on end.

QuizUp

Much like the classic board game Trivial Pursuit, QuizUp is a game of knowledge and skill. By connecting people through shared interests, the app contains more than 600,000 clever questions and features more than 1,000 topics, making it the biggest trivia app in the world. If you and your friends are looking for an app to help keep your brain active while participating in some friendly competition, then this is the one. Play head-to-head battles with a single friend or start an entire group tournament and be challenged on everything from general knowledge to science and medical questions. 

Zoom

Originally created for digital conference calls, Zoom has gained traction in the past few months. This web-based video conferencing tool permits operators to share screens, record sessions and apply quirky backgrounds and filters. Its popularity has seen it being used outside of work hours in all different ways, from hosting personal training sessions to home schooling, this app is helping in the bout of keeping people connected. Although standard users are able to hold an unlimited number of meetings, group meetings with multiple participants are capped at 40 minutes. However, if you choose to pay for the upgraded version call lengths are limitless.

Facebook Gaming

There’s no doubt that Facebook is by far one of the most popular social network platforms on the planet. That’s why, Facebook Gaming is an easy to access extension of the Facebook platform you most likely already have installed on your smartphone. The Facebook Gaming tab is part of Facebook’s recent design update which provides personalised shortcuts for users to easily access the communities they interact with most. Besides the bounty of games on offer to play between you and other Facebook users, the centrepiece of the Facebook Gaming tab features a feed where you can quickly and easily find content that matters to you most. The gaming platform includes classics such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man, as well as more contemporary games like Candy Crush Saga, FarmVille and Criminal Case.

WhatsApp

Last but not least, this may be the most obvious app of all but it’s also the most useful. While most of us will most likely already have WhatsApp installed on our smartphones, the Facebook-owned instant messaging service has no bias, as it works on all kinds of smartphones. Although one might think its sole purpose is for the use of instant messaging, its applications go far beyond that, such as voice and video messages, group video calls and a plethora of hilarious gifs to help you express your feelings in isolation.

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