Software & apps

There are a few options to choose from to video chat with someone.

Most are free and work on computers and phones.

Zoom is free for small group calls up to 40 minutes. You don’t need to install any software to use it via your web browser. It does have desktop and phone apps you can use if you want to. The person starting the call needs to set up a (free) Zoom account but the recipient doesn’t need one.

Skype is common and some people have access to it via Microsoft Teams at work. Again, you can use it through your web browser or download desktop or phone apps. You can have Skype video calls without either of you needing an account.

FaceTime is handy if you’re calling people with Apple iPhones or Mac computers as it’s already available on your device.

Google Hangouts offer another friendly interface though you’ll need a (free) Google account to make and receive calls.

All these platforms have advice and tips to help you get them set up. 

Phones, computers and video cameras

You don’t need anything fancy to video chat – most smartphones have everything you need.

If you want to share your screen (so the other person can see what you’ve got open on your screen) you’ll probably want a laptop or computer rather than a phone.

Most laptops have a built-in camera, microphone and speakers.

If you need to buy one, you don’t need an expensive webcam. If you might be doing ‘big’ activities like dancing you might want to pick one with a wide angle as it will fit more of the room in.

Headphones (perhaps with a built-in microphone) will reduce some noise for anyone else in the room as the video chatters but you will still hear the sounds the person there makes – might be more annoying, might be less!