Over the Easter weekend, we had out-of-the-country guests with us in our home for six days. They weren’t family, and they were each far away from their own families, too – which means we all spent some time chatting off and on about how they keep up with their families while they’re traveling! (Especially since we’ve entered an age where it makes sense for even our kids have smartphones.) Luckily, this technology has the capability to bring families closer together and keep you informed about your family’s safety and well-being. And I discovered that there are a number of apps that will help you keep track of all your family members through group communication platforms. Here are four of the best chat services for families that will enhance your group communication:
Slack is a messaging app that keeps all your group communication in one place. The app is frequently used in workplaces, though is also an ideal program for family communication. The app can streamline communication between you and your loved ones, which reduces the likelihood of crossed wires or misunderstanding. The app will facilitate real-time messaging and file sharing for one-on-one and group conversations.
For example, if your child is part of a soccer team that has varying practice times and locations, you can make sure everyone is updated on the activity specifics. You can share the weekly soccer schedule with your child and partner, so you can set up a carpool or decided who will drive. The app can help store important documents — like school and medical forms — and can easily integrate with Dropbox, Asana, Google Drive, Twitter and Zendesk. It keeps everything in one place, so you and your family can stay organized and reduce the stress that comes with hectic, family life. Although some say Slack is due for some backlash, that’s in the business world — families will love it.
FamilyChat lets you supervise your child’s social interactions, know their location and facilitate group chats. You can create zones around various locations, which will alert you when a family member enters or leaves the area. School, sports practice facilities and friends’ houses can be set up as zones. Every time your child receives texts that contain swear words or bully phrases, you will receive notification. You can retract or block these messages, so you can use these instances as teaching opportunities.
Your children will know you’re monitoring their locations and chats through the app. They can turn off their own chat protection or location sharing, but you will be notified that they’ve turned off their sharing settings. The app is designed for amplified communications between families in a way that is transparent and safe.
Famy is a group chat and location tracking app that helps you ensure the safety of your loved ones. It will store the moving paths of each phone into the app’s history. You can set your locations settings mode: protection, sharing, approval, secret. The protection mode will send all the locations; sharing mode will send location at a requested time; approval mode will send current location after being approved; and secret mode will keep your location private. Up to 5 people can share their locations with each other. In case of an emergency, Famy will send your current location to other family members and automatically make a call to family members. The app has group SMS capabilities, so you can chat with family members either one-on-one or in group chat.
Unlike FaceTime or other video chatting apps, Skype can create group calls that include up to 25 people. The video capabilities let you see the conditions of your children and make sure they are safe. It also helps you meet, face-to-face, as a family for any pivotal discussions about schedules, activities or issues. One caveat: Video chat is the most engaging and transparent form of device communication, but make sure you and your family have phones that work well with this app. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has an extraordinary camera — its front-face camera’s spotlight capabilities allow you to video chat with clear visibility in low light. You can integrate Skype onto all your devices; it can be accessed not solely on smartphones, but also on tablets, PCs, Macs and some TVs.
Aren’t these great?! They’re really gonna come in handy when I have elementary and older-aged twins running around!
How do YOU keep in touch with YOUR family via technology?
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!