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Try video calling

Video calling your friends and family is a great way to keep in touch when you can't meet in person.

Video calling your friends and family is a great way to keep in touch when you can’t meet in person.

Video calls or using video conferencing software isn’t just for professionals anymore. It’s a popular way to stay in touch with loved ones, join events from home, and even access telehealth services. A video call is just like a phone call, but uses the internet to show you the faces of people in the call as well as letting you hear their voice.

Here are some tips to help you have a good experience when taking part in a video call.

Choose the right app

There are many different apps like Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Zoom and WhatsApp that will allow you to hold a video call with your friends or family. They all offer a very similar experience and there are a lot of free apps out there, but the type of device, the age of the device and the software installed on your device (called the operating system) may narrow down your choices.

Top tip: Have a chat with the people you want to video call and ask what apps they use so you can use the same ones.

Mobile data vs Wi-Fi

Video calling can use a lot of data (upwards of 200mb per hour). If you’re planning on using mobile data to video call your friends and family, it’s important to be aware of how much data you have on your plan as it can be very expensive. Saving video calls for when you’re on Wi-Fi can save you a lot of money.

Top tip: If you don’t have Wi-Fi at home and don’t have much data included on your mobile plan, you could go to a place that offers free Wi-Fi like cafes and shopping centres and call people from there. Just remember your headphones!

Have the right equipment

Depending on what device you’re planning on using to video call, you may have to purchase some extra equipment to get everything running smoothly. Most smartphones and tablets have built-in cameras to use when video calling. If you’re using a computer it may be worth checking that it has a camera built-in before agreeing to video call someone. If it doesn’t, you can buy a plug in camera (known as a webcam) to use when video calling from your computer.

Check your lighting and surroundings

Checking your lighting and what is around you before you make a video call is important. If it’s too dark, the other person won’t be able to see you which can be frustrating. If there is a lot of background noise, this will be picked up by the microphone on your device or headphones and won’t be pleasant for the person you’re talking to.

Top tip: Most video calling apps show you a preview of what the other person is seeing. Adjusting how you’re holding your device or where it is positioned will help you to keep your face visible in the camera’s lens.

Keep learning

The Be Connected and Good Things Learning websites have advice and beginners’ courses on using video calling platforms and messaging apps.

Visit and Learn digital skills to get started.