Video calling is an important way we stay connected these days—and similar to any new technology we share with our kids, we’ll need to provide a bit of guidance to help them video call safely (and respectfully!) on their own. Here are some ideas to help kids learn the video calling ropes:
Start with the video calling basics
Maybe your kids have already been on their fair share of video calls, but it’s a good idea to talk about the basics, especially if they will be making calls on their own. If they’ve only been on calls with adult help before they might need some guidance to understand the various buttons, what they do and how they capture image and sound:
- Explain that the camera will show their face and background and show them how to turn it off if they’d rather not be visible
- Show how the microphone picks up everything they say, as well as any sounds they make unless they use the mute button
- If they decide to leave the camera on, explain how they can make sure they’re visible. Natural light is great in the daytime, and at night a lamp or ring light might be necessary. Move so that the light is in front, not behind
Talk about appropriate times to make video calls
Kids might not fully understand when it is appropriate to make calls to family and friends, especially if those people are in different time zones. This is especially important for kids who have access to their own devices.
- Encourage your kid to set up a time in advance with the person they want to video call
- Suggest they send a text ahead of time to see if a video call is welcome
- If their video call goes unanswered, encourage them to wait a little bit before trying again
- Let them know that they should only make rapid-fire, repeat calls in case of emergency
Remember that everyone can hear and see you!
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are fully visible on screen. Here are some final thoughts for kids to keep in mind when video calling:
- Make sure they’re comfortable with what people might see in the background—set up in front of a wall, or choose a virtual background to cover personal items if that puts them at ease
- If anything noisy is happening in the background where they are, it’s polite to mute yourself. Things like a loud tv, a dog barking or another conversation can make it hard to hear one another on the video call
- While it can be fun to do an activity like coloring or making cookies during your video call, avoid more personal things like changing clothes or using the bathroom
The best way for kids to learn about video calling etiquette is to practice with loved ones. Now that video calling has landed in Kinzoo, kids can experiment with it in a safe environment—with those who matter most!
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