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// Lifestyle & health

Using technology to connect with the people you love

We came together with Barclays in 2016 to launch the FirstPort Digital Eagles Initiative, and since then it has allowed us to create a ‘digital community’ across FirstPort. Digital Eagles’ purpose is to help people use digital technology safely and more confidently.

Technology has an important role to play in keeping us connected with the people we love, particularly technology in the home. But that can only happen if you know how. Lots of people still lack confidence when it comes to using technology and the internet, and that’s where Digital Eagles can help. Giving people the support to use different types of technology, in a way that’s safe, is what they do best!

There are many ways technology can connect us with the people we love. This article focuses on three ways technology can bring us closer together.

  • Social media is a great way to find and connect with people – people you know now and people you’ve lost touch with over the years.
    Most platforms allow you to share stories and photographs of things you’ve been up to or even of old memories.
    There are also private and public groups where you can meet new people with similar interests to you.
  • It’s always lovely to catch up with a friend or family member on the telephone, but it’s not the same as talking to someone face to face. That’s where video calling can help, particularly if you have friends or family that live a long way away.
    Video calling allows you to be together in a far more real way than speaking to someone over the phone. It allows you to see that person’s face, watch them laugh or smile, read their body language and feel that much closer to them – and you can have more than one of you in front of the camera at any one time.
    There are lots of different ways to hold a video call now too. There are devices you can plug into some TVs so that you can see your loved ones on the big screen. Most modern laptops and computers have cameras built into them to make video calls over the Internet. And there are plenty of apps for your smartphone or tablet that allow you to make and receive video calls – some even come preinstalled, depending on the device you buy.
  • Sending a message can help you to stay in touch quickly and easily – especially when you’re short on time. Lots of messaging services also allow you to set up ‘group chats’, these allow multiple people to see and send messages among the group.
    Some people use this feature to have a group chat with family members, to help organise time to spend together or just keep up to date with what the grandchildren have been up to.
    You can send text, video or picture messages in the group and everyone in the group can see what you’ve sent.
    But, don’t forget to check any costs you might incur for sending text, picture or video messages with your mobile phone provider.

There are also lots of other ways technology can help us feel connected, without needing someone else to connect with.

  • Video streaming services allow you to take a trip down memory lane, playing songs and TV theme tunes (or even clips from the shows themselves) from your past. Try using the Internet to find a song, singer or TV show you enjoyed – the search could bring up videos for you to watch or audio tracks for you to listen to.
  • Smart speakers allow you to access lots of different services, often with just your voice. You can ask them to find you recipes or tell you what the weather’s like in places all over to world. They can tell you the daily news, set you reminders, and even play your favourite radio station (even if you’re in Cornwall and your favourite radio station is from Cork!).  They can also help you learn something new, like a new language, play games with you, or tell you a joke.

With many of us having to spend more time in our homes at the moment, we hope that these tips help you keep in touch with family and friends.

Stay safe and well.