Keeping in touch with Video Calls

In the coming months, as Covid-19 impacts all our daily lives, it might be useful to be able to communicate with family and friends using more than just the telephone for voice calls.

Many U3A members might benefit from finding out what the younger members of their family use and going for the same system.  This will enable their tech-savvy youngsters to guide them through the set-up and use of the software.

If you can make a mobile telephone call with a smart phone then you can almost certainly make a video call.

Here are a few methods to add video calling to your mobile phone, tablet , laptop or PC (if it has a camera).

Birthday coming up soon?

If you’ve got a birthday or special occasion,  like Mother’s Day,  coming up soon then how about dropping some heavy hints to your family for one of these devices which are designed to make life simpler for those more tech-averse members of the U3A.

Portal from Facebook   No monthly fee

Komp from No Isolation   As simple as it gets

GrandPad   A recent arrival in the UK

Services for Smartphones, Tablets and Computers


This has been around for a very long time and is probably already built into your computer if it is running Windows 10.  It can even work with Alexa and Xbox.  You will have to pay for calls to landlines but Skype to Skype calls are free.

The Skype website is here:  Skype  and full instructions are to be found at: How to use Skype


One of the most publicised solutions recently Zoom allows up to 100 participants at a time with its free version.

Details and download from here:  Zoom


Houseparty is a social networking app that allows up to eight people to video chat at once in a “room.” Users can have infinite rooms and easily float between rooms. Unlike Facetime, you don’t need to call someone. Users receive a notification when friends open the app and can join chats with friends (and friends of friends).

PC users will have to access it using the Chrome browser.

Details and download from here:  Houseparty

Facebook Messenger

This will work on both Android and Apple products.  It enables you to have live video chats, text chats, the use of emojis.  Families might appreciate the ability to have multiple members using a group video chat.

Some more deatils and download links here: Facebook Messenger


Another useful app which works with Android, Apple and PC/Laptops.  Set up a group for your family so that everyone can keep in touch and see the messages from everyone in the group.  Again voice and video calls are available to see who you are talking to with up to 4 participants at a time.  You will get best result using your home wifi connection rather than your phone’s data plan.

Explore the WhatsApp website for more details and the downloads:  WhatsApp


For the Apple fans only.  This isn’t available for Android users so may limit its use unless everyone in your family or group uses Apple products.

How to use FaceTime:  FaceTime

Google Duo

Yet another method which works with Android and Apple products as well as tablets and computers.

Google Duo’s website for more details:  Google Duo