It’s challenging to have close relationships with your grandchildren and impact their lives when they don’t live nearby. However, if you have a computer or a smartphone you are just a couple clicks away from “seeing” your grandkids as often as your schedules allow. It’s surprisingly easy to do, even for an “all thumbs” old-timer like me.
I used to use Skype to video chat with my grandchildren who lived 40 miles away. It worked OK but was inconvenient because I had to phone first and make sure the grandkids were available. Like most people, I heard about other applications that might be better options but I didn’t even know how to get started on using them. Finally, I decided to put in some time and check them out. I opened my web browser and typed “How can I video chat using my computer”?
As you might expect, I found a lot of options. I wanted simple, easy to learn, and easy to use. After looking at a couple of options I found “my” answer. Google has a site called Hangouts. Google Hangouts is great for many reasons, one is that anyone with a Gmail account can log in instantly no matter what device they are using, as long as it has a built-in camera and microphone. The app knows how to grab a hold of your webcam and microphone and knows who you have in your email.
I opened my Google account with my Google web browser and clicked on Google Hangouts. Once that screen cleared I had three options; video chat, phone call or message. I clicked on video chat and I could see myself on the screen. The screen prompt asked me who I wanted to invite. I typed my daughter-in-law’s full name and clicked the invite button and her phone started ringing. When she answered I could both see and hear her. The five grandkids were immediately mobbing the phone as well. YEAH! All this took about 15 minutes to figure out. My main challenge was getting this old dog to think he could learn a simple new trick.
I did. So can you. Don’t settle for not spending enough time with your grandkids. They may live hundreds of miles away, but they’re as close as a couple clicks on your phone or computer and a thumbs up attitude. Yes, you can!
Tim DeWaters lives in Jackson, Michigan and has seven grandchildren.
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