The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Modern technology can be a great aid in reducing the impact of separation from relatives. One lady recently told me that she reads bedtime stories to her grandchildren every evening, even though those grandchildren are 2,500 miles away. Of course, she could do the same with a telephone conversation. However, thanks to low-cost video teleconferencing, she can also show her grandchildren the illustrations in each book she is reading. In turn, the children can show her their new pajamas or the art work they completed in school today or even the black eye earned in the schoolyard.
I have been using video chats or video teleconferencing services for years, mostly in business situations. However, since I have a brand-new grandchild, I am now quite interested in video chats within the family.
Best of all is the cost of these nightly two-way video conversations: zero. Of course, it isn't really free. You must already have a computer, a video camera, and an Internet connection, preferably a broadband connection. You can even hold two-way video chats on some cell phones. All of those cost money but I suspect you already own them. If so, the video conferencing can be done "at no additional expense."
Obviously, you are not restricted to video conferences with grandchildren. You can also conduct two-way video conversations with cousins, overseas or local friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or even have video chats with business associates when you are at the office or while on vacation in Tahiti. If you are traveling on business and are in a hotel room in a distant city, you can conduct video chats with your family back home. I wish we had this technology available when I was raising a family and traveling frequently!
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