Outsider’s Guide to Staying Connected during COVID-19

a cup and a laptop with a video call ongoing

The current Covid-19 situation has greatly changed the way we communicate as countries shift into lockdown. In Singapore, the Circuit Breaker period implemented since early April has caused traditional forms of communications such as social gatherings to become a thing of the past. With the implementation of temporary control orders on physical social gatherings, our lives have evolved to become more digitised for the time being.

Though for the time being, we are not able to hang out with our friends over supper at Swee Choon or meet up for our monthly karaoke sessions, it is still important to cherish relationships closest to us. Not only can we give emotional support to our friends and family, but we can also spread a little positivity in their lives by making an effort to keep in contact, albeit via new forms of communication! Here are some ways to strengthen our relationships with those who are precious to us:

1. Video Calls

Staying virtually connected has never been easier with the vast availability of free video-conferencing software and mobile applications. Having at least one of these — Skype and Zoom installed on your phone/computer is a great way to check in on your grandparents for that weekly quality bonding time. These video-conferencing software have simple user interfaces, making it easy for technology illiterate grandparents to use. Simply click the meeting links and join the calls. For Gen Z’s, popular social network, Houseparty, offers more than just video conferencing functions but also, built in-app games and quizzes to keep you and your friends entertained for hours!

Video conferencing calls for both work and fun!
Video conferencing calls for both work and fun! Image by Theres Sudeep (https://www.deccanherald.com/metrolife/metrolife-lifestyle/a-guide-to-video-call-etiquette-826593.html)

2. Online Games

What better way to stay connected with your friends than to game with them? There are tons of games available which cater to different interests. Here are our recommendations for free, FUN, multiplayer games to enjoy both on your phones and laptops.

For mobile games:

  • Plato — a mobile app that has chat groups but also numerous games like Werewolf, DrawTogether, 4 in a Row
  • Animal Crossing — a social simulation game which allows players to be transported to their customisable fantasy island

For browser games:

  • Krunker.io — a first-person shooter game which allows you to compete with your friends
  • Skribbl.io — a drawing and guessing game that challenges players to think quickly
Trending Nintendo Switch Game — Animal Crossing.
Trending Nintendo Switch Game — Animal Crossing. Image by Nintendo (https://www.animal-crossing.com/new-horizons/)

3. Surprising Treats

Who doesn’t love surprises? Treat your friends with food to show you’re thinking about them! For some savoury local hawker favourites, here’s a compiled list of hawkers islandwide on Facebook. Not forgetting those with a sweet tooth, here are a few of our favourite bakeries: The Backyard BackersNasty Cookie and Cat & The Fiddle. Not only will your friends appreciate the sweet gesture, but you can also support local businesses struggling during this tough period!

Missing that savoury chicken rice? #supportlocal.
Missing that savoury chicken rice? #supportlocal. Image by cegoh (https://pixabay.com/photos/chicken-rice-%E7%99%BD%E6%96%A9%E9%B8%A1-food-asian-1508984/)
Indulge in that moist, perfect Valrhona brownies by The Backyard Baker.
Indulge in that moist, perfect Valrhona brownies by The Backyard Baker. Image by The Backyard Bakers (https://thebackyardbakers.com.sg/index.html)

4. Personalised Cards

Now that many of us are stuck at home with extra time to spare, why not do something special for our loved ones? Instead of sending simple ‘Happy Birthday’ messages, design a birthday card for them on Canva! Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to drag and drop visual elements which makes designing a lot simpler. Go to Canva and select ‘Template’, ‘Cards’ to design a personalised card. Once you’re done, you can download it and send it to your loved ones via your preferred social media channels. Unleash your inner artist and let your creativity flow!

Example of a customisable birthday card template on Canva that’s super pretty!
Example of a customisable birthday card template on Canva that’s super pretty! Image by Canva (https://www.canva.com/templates/EADyK7Y9WJI-yellow-woman-photo-contemporary-grids-birthday-card/)

5. Netflix Party

Hands up if you’ve been hooked on Netflix during this CB period! Yes, us too! We’re currently watching Money HeistStranger Things and Crash Landing on You. Sit back in the comfort of your own home and binge-watch your favourite movies/shows with your friends using Netflix Party, an extension for Google Chrome that allows you to watch the same show at the same time with as many friends as you want. Never miss a beat and laugh at the same time! With Netflix Party, there’s something for everyone!

Popular selections on Netflix to kill boredom this CB! Screencapture of Netflix (https://netflix.com)

(EXTRA) Help Others

If you’re feeling really bored at home, why not use the time to help others in need and earn a little extra cash? Helping someone doesn’t take a lot of effort. It could be as simple as dabao-ing food for a neighbour living in your block who has difficulties leaving home! Don’t know where to start? Fret not, there are numerous tasks on Outside that will allow you to assist with deliveries, get groceries and even complete online surveys/work for others. Start helping others and be your community’s hero today!

Outside: Singapore’s Community Tasking App
Outside: Singapore’s Community Tasking App. Image by Outside (https://www.outsideapp.co)

Outside is a community-tasking app that connects users to help each other out for their daily inconveniences. Since its launch in 2017, the app has gained recognition for its work through media features and competitions, where it has won multiple awards. Currently, the app boasts over 10,000 users and is officially supported by Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY)’s #SGUnited and Majurity Trust’s #SGStrong.

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