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#parent | #kids | The best apps to keep you connected with family and friends during lockdown | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


The UK is officially on lockdown, severely limiting our movements in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Socialising with anyone outside your household is now prohibited, with police able to disperse any group meetings.

For all of us, it means at least three weeks away from the friends and family members we don’t live with.

But in the age of social media and digital technology, we are at least all able to stay in touch with one another, even if we can’t pop round for a cup of tea.

Whether you’re trying to arrange a remote birthday party or unleash your competitive spirit with games, here are a few apps you can all download to stay connected.

WhatsApp


Starting with the most obvious – but useful – of all.

Most of us will already have WhatsApp downloaded, the Facebook-owned instant messaging service that works on all smart phones (unlike apps like FaceTime).

WhatsApp has so many features beyond its obvious texting facilities, like easy-to-use group video calls and voice notes you can leave one another when you just want to hear another human’s voice.

There are also plenty of gifs to help you express your current emotions.

Houseparty

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The Houseparty app

This is one app that’s gone somewhat viral since the social distancing measures were put in place earlier this month.

Allowing you to be a full-blown social butterfly without ever leaving your sofa, you can drop in and out of your mates’ group video chats whenever you fancy it – probably making some new virtual friends in the process.

There are games you can play through the app too, including Heads Up and Quick Draw.

You might even end up sliding into someone’s remote family birthday party uninvited – very entertaining.

Words With Friends

Used to watching Countdown with your mum but now finding yourself unable to pop round after work? It’s little routines like this that families may miss the most during lockdown.

But apps like Words With Friends can help to bridge that social gap a little.

If you both download it and make accounts, you can challenge each other to Scrabble-style word games that can play out over hours or weeks, depending how addicted you get.

Zoom

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A Zoom video call

Zoom was created as digital conference calling software, but its popularity has rocketed in recent weeks outside of work circumstances too.

The software is now being used for everything from streaming live yoga sessions to hosting family quiz nights.

For standard users, sessions are capped at 40 minutes – but you can pay to upgrade for longer conversations if you need them.

Google Hangouts

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Much like Zoom, Google Hangouts is geared perfectly towards team meetings at work but is doubling up as a socialising tool during these difficult times we’re facing.

All you’ll need is a Gmail email address to get started.

TikTok

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TikTok

No, we can’t quite believe this has happened either, but TikTok has officially transcended from teenage users to adults too.

The world’s fastest-growing social media platform is being used by more than a billion of us now.

The video-sharing app has various trending challenges to get involved with, which might seem weird when you first join but will soon suck you down a rabbit hole.

Netflix Party

If your favourite thing to do with your mates is usually to sit and binge-watch Netflix documentaries (entire series of Don’t F*** With Cats in one day, anyone?), the lockdown may have thrown a big spanner in the works.

This is where Netflix Party comes in handy.

You can watch Netflix films and TV shows at the same time as one another, with the option to add a chat feature so you can express your outrage/shock/delight in real time.

All you need to do is download the Google extension from Netflix Party – only one person in your party needs to do this, and they can share the link to watch the programme or film with anyone they like.





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