Staying Connected with Family and Friends: with Chad Everett Harris
As stay-at-home orders swept the nation, and physical distancing mandates were set in place, user-friendly video conferencing applications took center stage. From Zoom to HouseParty and Facetime, video chatting has taken on a new cultural significance during social isolation, connecting friends and families driven apart by the pandemic.
As a serial entrepreneur, Chad Everett Harris has incorporated video chatting into every aspect of his business but has also found it to be the cornerstone of maintaining his relationships. Chad E. Harris views video conferencing as a blessing in times of social isolation and thinks the possibilities are endless when it comes to what we can do together online.
User-friendly video conferencing apps are now widely available in both free and paid versions and have allowed people to stay in touch during these difficult times. From virtual meetings to remote working and online lessons, Chad Everett Harris explains that apps for video chatting have been downloaded more than 50 million times since people were urged to stay home in mid-March. In some ways, we are more prepared today than we were 15 years ago to stay connected during a pandemic. If a lock down had occurred in 2005, we would not have the luxury of smartphones, and many video applications were only in the beginning stages of development.
Mental Health Benefits
Video chatting is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your family and friends during the COVID-19 lock down, but it may also be beneficial for your mental health. In a 2018 study, Alan Teo a physician who teaches at Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Medicine, found that the use of video chatting helped reduce the risk of depression in people aged 60 or older, a group more likely to be socially isolated than younger generations. More effective at reducing isolation than email, social media, or instant messaging, video chatting is a great way to curb feelings of loneliness and depression.
Whether you are using FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Zoom, Skype, or Google Duo, there are dozens of ways to spend quality time with your loved ones. For those who already have Facebook, Facebook Messenger can accommodate up to 50 people in a group, and requires no downloads. If you’re looking to engage in an activity, Chad Harris has a couple of suggestions to maintain some semblance of normalcy.
Reconnecting with Loved Ones
Watching movies and TV shows with loved ones online has never been easier. Netflix launched its Party extension which allows you to stream programs with friends simultaneously without being in the same room. In addition to synchronizing video playback, Netflix Party has also added a group chat feature to allow for discussions while watching your favorite TV shows and movies.
Chad Everett Harris’ favorite video chatting activity is a skillshare. Whether it is baking, crocheting, painting, or dancing, you and your loved ones can use your screen time to showcase useful skills, talents, and hobbies. Try baking a recipe or painting a picture together. Chad explains that you will be surprised at how fun, engaging, and connected doing activities like this will make you feel. As difficult as things may seem, Chad E. Harris is excited by all of the ways we can stay connected even though we are apart.