Ali’s Orbit: Ways of staying connected
By Ali Williams
The coronavirus has made everyone – besides essential workers – stay stuck inside for weeks. It is unknown when social distancing will be over, as the virus may worsen and cause people to continue to stay at home.
One of the difficult things I have been experiencing is loneliness. Despite being around family more often, and still able to message friends, knowing that I cannot go out and see friends in person is a genuine struggle.
When President Trump announced that social distancing is extended until Thursday, April 30, I was sad knowing that I was going to be stuck inside and without friends even longer. However, I also knew this was the best way to keep everyone as safe as possible. So, I tried to find ways to combat loneliness and stay connected with the people I miss most.
Many apps and websites can help with this. NetflixParty is a website that allows groups of people to watch the same shows or movies together. Only available on desktop, the site has a group chat option. It synchronizes the video, so everyone can watch the show or film at the same time. It is just like if people were in a room together, binge-watching a show or having a horror movie night.
Metastream is like NetflixParty but works for more streaming services. Crunchyroll, YouTube, Vimeo and Netflix all work on the website and it has the same group chat feature as well. It also synchronizes the pause and play features, so if someone needs to leave for a second, they won’t be left behind.
FaceTime and Skype are also great ways to stay connected. My friends and I, along with my sister, have been playing games over iMessage since social distancing started. There are a few multiplayer games, so those are great to play with a group.
Now, this doesn’t make up for not seeing friends in person. I’m still lonely and wish I could give my friends hugs because I miss them so much. However, these websites, games and video-calling apps are the best the world can do right now due to COVID-19.
Soon enough, everyone will be able to reunite with friends once social distancing is over. Until then, the world needs to wait it out and stay inside.