As Cliff Richard likes to remind us annually, Christmas time is a time for giving (as well as mistletoe and wine, obviously) and, as such, we like to spend a bit of time thinking about how we can help out those around us at this time of year.
This year, we’ve been thinking about some cool, tech-based good deeds that can be done over the festive period to help make people who might otherwise be a bit isolated or lonely feel more connected to the world around them. We’ve come up with some great ideas and wanted to share them so that anyone can feel empowered to help others.
Elderly people, in particular, can find Christmas to be quite a lonely time, especially if their families live far away. While using video calling can’t put your family in the same room, it can make conversations feel more immediate. It can also enable grandparents to see their grandkids opening the gifts they’ve posted, or help them see how much that new baby has grown.
So take a bit of time with an elderly friend, neighbour or relative and show them how to use a service like Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime so that they can enjoy a face-to-face chat with their family on Christmas Day, no matter where they are in the world. Remember to show them basics like how to log on, how to make or answer a call, and how to check the camera and mic are working fine. It will only take a short bit of time out of your day and they’ll be made up.
Sharing photos can be another good way for families to stay in touch over Christmas. If you know someone who’s not super tech-savvy, showing them how to take and share photos on their phone can help them connect with their friends and relatives quickly and easily.
With photo-sharing, show them how to use a simple messaging service such as WhatsApp, show them how to take a selfie with the front camera, and a regular photo with the back camera. This is something they’ll be able to use all year round and can be a much more fun way to keep in touch. You could even help them set up a group chat with their family to make talking even easier.
Facebook’s certainly not for everyone, but it can be a really useful way to stay in touch with family and friends so you could easily take some time out to teach someone the basic functions of the platform. This would involve helping them set up an account with privacy settings they feel comfortable with, helping them find the people they want to stay in touch with and showing them how to use basic services such as status updates, messaging and photo sharing.
Remember, if you’re showing someone who’s not very tech-savvy how to use tech to keep in touch with their family, you need to be able to explain things in an easy-to-understand manner and you need to have plenty of patience. Just remember we were all newbies once and it may be a case of showing them a couple of things, before coming back another day to show them more.
However you teach them, helping people use tech to stay more connected really is the gift that keeps on giving and will empower them to be more involved in family life, even if said family is halfway across the world.
And with that, all that’s left to say is: