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Using technology to stay connected

2020 04 29 LSP 068

While we may need to physically isolate ourselves from other people during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is vital for us to stay in touch with friends and family. No matter what your routine, regular online contact can help to relieve loneliness and boredom.

Maintaining close connections using technology can ease the pain of separation and help us stay connected to those we love, no matter the distance.

Stay connected

  • Take the time now to make sure those vulnerable to COVID-19 are technologically prepared and know how to use video applications like Skype, Zoom or FaceTime.
  • Almost everybody has a phone. Don’t forget a simple phone call, ringing and talking is sometimes enough to alleviate feelings of isolation.
  • Children are very good with technology now, so you can even get a five-year-old to ring nana and grandad or to have a chat. Our children will be our best teachers in this time.
  • Set up a regular time to video call or send messages to family and friends throughout the day.
  • Join or set up a social media support group for your neighbourhood.

To help maintain contact with older parents, grandparents and neighbours download the Get Started app — it has great tips for helping them get online safely.

It’s not easy motivating someone to try something for the first time, but by following a few simple tips, you can make a huge difference in the life of someone you know.

Tools to help you stay connected

Get Started is a mobile app designed to help you get an older friend or relative online in five simple steps.

  • Simple step-by-step process to guide you as you help an older Australian get online.
  • Fun activities, tips and tricks.
  • Watch videos to help you explain the basics.
  • Free online courses to build confidence.
  • Find local face-to-face support Australia wide.

Be Connected is an Australia wide initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. There are lots of easy-to-follow guides for people including information about making video calls, using social media and shopping online. There’s also specially tailored advice for coping with COVID-19.

hub is a place for young people to ‘visit, hang out, keep up to date, have a say, and connect’ with other young South Australians. hub is an initiative of the Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Many libraries offer digital literacy sessions, at basic, intermediate and advanced levels. The sessions can include one-to-one or group learning opportunities and include such digital citizenship topics as computer and website awareness, introduction to tablets, emails, and social media. Contact your local library for more information.

Tips to keep you and your family safe

With more South Australians using technology to stay connected with family and friends than ever before, South Australia Police have developed a ‘Video Conferencing Advice’ fact sheet that provides simple steps for both ‘hosts’ and ‘participants’:

Host

  • Use unique meeting IDs and passwords for all of your meetings.
  • Limit meetings so only those invited can attend
  • Make sure your family and friends know not to forward the meeting link to anyone.
  • Review your meeting settings to make sure ‘outsiders’ cannot intrude.

Participants

  • Use unique passwords when setting up accounts and where possible do not use social media accounts to sign in.
  • Be mindful of what you share during a video call.
  • Consider using a second device during video calls, for example check emails using your phone if using your computer for the meeting.
  • Keep video conferencing software updated.

The eSafety Commissioner also has great resources that:

  • Help children and young people safely explore the online world, including tips for staying safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Provide advice for parents and carers as to how they can help children to have safe experiences online.