Using the Internet to Stay Connected While Social Distancing
Schools across the country are moving toward online instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Restaurants and shops are closing their doors. Some states, including California, are even implementing mandatory shelter-in-place regulations.
Social distancing is one of the most effective things we can all do to slow the spread of COVID-19, but keeping a safe distance from friends and family during this time can feel isolating and downright lonely. Fortunately, the Internet offers several ways to stay engaged, entertained, and educated during these long days of isolation!
Here are just a few simple ways to stay connected (while apart):
- Learn a new language. Download Duolingo or a similar app to teach yourself a foreign language, from Spanish to Swedish!
- Want to grab coffee? Video conferencing services like Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom make it easy to have coffee dates or happy hours with friends and family, even when you can’t meet in-person.
- Get your workout in. Your gym may be closed, but you don’t need to give up your fitness routine. There are hundreds of aerobics and yoga videos available online, many of them (like Bodyweight Warrior, POPSUGAR Fitness, and Yoga with Adriene) for no cost!
- Host a movie night. Good news: you don’t need to stream alone. The Netflix Party extension on Google Chrome allows you to watch Netflix remotely with long-distance friends! It synchronizes video playback and adds a group chat feature. Heads up, you must be using the Google Chrome web browser—sorry Firefox and Safari fans.
- Travel the world—or the galaxy. Many of us have had to cancel family trips due to the coronavirus pandemic, but thanks to the Internet, we can still get some sight-seeing in! Museums, national parks, and zoos are all offering virtual tours. And if those options aren’t exotic enough, you can explore the surface of Mars on NASA’s Curiosity Rover!
- Pick up a new instrument. Is there a guitar collecting dust somewhere in your basement from that one time you thought you’d learn to play? Well, there’s never been a better time to learn! With broadband, you have access to hundreds of online tutorials.
- Support local businesses. Small business owners and employees are some of the hardest hit by coronavirus. While you may not be able to shop in-store for a few weeks, see if you can buy a gift card online—your purchase will help the business now, and you will get to treat yourself later on.
- Check out a new book (or two, or three). Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card! Libby is a free app that allows you to borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks from your local public library. You can stream books with Wi-Fi or mobile data, or download them for offline use and read anytime, anywhere. And if you have a young reader going stir-crazy at home, Audible is currently offering free streams on a select number of children’s stories across six languages.
- Read your local paper. These days, we are all being bombarded with news from around the world. Make sure you have access to the stories that matter most to you; thanks to broadband, many small-town newspapers are available online!
In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, we all need to isolate ourselves for a little while; but in order to cope with the stress it can cause, we need to stick together. With help from the Internet, we can make the most of our days at home. If you are experiencing troubles with your internet connection, or if you would like to upgrade your speeds, please contact RTC at 701.862.3115.