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Who would have thought that ‘social distancing’ would be the unofficial phrase of the year? While keeping our distance is incredibly important, so too is staying social.

Thankfully, there have never been more ways to do it. From video chats to apps, here are our favourite ways to stay connected in isolation.

ONLINE

Houseparty
Marketed as ‘the next best thing to hanging out in person,’ Houseparty is a face-to-face social network helping you connect with friends and family from afar. You’ll be alerted when your loved ones are ‘in the house’ and ready to chat, and vice versa. Invite more people to join the party, or ‘lock’ your room so it’s just a select few.
Find out more here

Scrabble GO
The makers of the world’s favourite word game brought out a mobile version just in time! Scrabble GO uses the official board, tiles and word dictionaries made famous by the original game, while also letting you play your friends from a quarantine-friendly distance.
Find out more here

Skype
With desktop, web-based and smartphone versions, you can Skype your “nearest” and dearest anytime, anywhere. The OG video messaging platform, Skype has been around for years and is incredibly easy to use – you can even get your grandparents in on the action. Call mobile numbers and landlines, or chat face-to-face via their video function. The options are endless.
Find out more here

Hanging With Friends
If you’ve played Words With Friends – which is kind of like Scrabble, kind of not – you’ll love the hangman-esque version, Hanging With Friends. Guess the word, play with and against your friends or join a team to compete for the highest score – there is endless fun to be had with Hanging With Friends, and the other Zynga games like it!
Find out more here 

FaceTime
We couldn’t leave FaceTime off this list, could we? The iOS operating system’s answer to Skype, FaceTime is made especially for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and even iMac users. Make video or audio calls, use fun effects and even switch the camera around to show your friends and family what you’re looking at.
Find out more here 

Draw Something
Kind of like Pictionary, only on your phone! With Draw Something you can challenge your friends for a quick match, or meet new ones to play. The rules are simple: draw the word you are given, and hope your partner can guess it. When it’s their turn to draw, hope you can guess their word in return!
Find out more here

Netflix Party
There ain’t no party like a Netflix Party, ’cause a Netflix Party don’t stop – not even for a global pandemic! Netflix Party is the Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch your favourite Netflix shows and movies with friends and family from afar, offering a live chat function and synchronised playing and pausing to make sure you’re all watching along together. Cool, huh?
Find out more here

Zoom
Zoom is designed for remote meetings, but there’s no reason you can’t use it to chat with your friends and family, as well as your work colleagues, while you’re stuck at home! The audio and video quality is great across all of your devices, and you can also share screens, collaborate real-time on a virtual whiteboard and even activate the safe driving mode so you can chat on the go.
Find out more here

Snapchat
Snapchat isn’t just for the kids – there are so many features to this fun app that appeal to family and friends! Start a group chat to send messages and videos, or set up video or voice calls. You can share group stories, which last for just 24 hours, try fun filters and capture and send photos and videos with ease.
Find out more here

OFFLINE 

Write it on the window
Just because we’re stuck inside, doesn’t mean we can’t say ‘hello’ to the outside world. Plenty of people are still taking to the streets for leisurely strolls or to walk their pets, so why not brighten their day with some window signs? It’s a perfect activity to get your kids in on, too.

Play the roles
It goes without saying, but isolation can make you feel seriously lonely – and when you’re feeling lonely, it’s easy to isolate even further. But you’re more than just lonely: you’re a mum, dad, a sister, a brother, a friend, cousin and maybe even a grandparent, so work each week to reach out to people in, say, two of those roles, and you’ll feel better in no time.

Chat, from a distance
And we’re not talking about online. We aren’t in complete lockdown just yet, so you can definitely still follow government advice and socialise while keeping your distance. Have a drink with your neighbour from your respective backyards or driveways, or have a chat with your friends from across the room. It feels weird, sure – but so does everything right now.

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haven  

haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.