FaceTime Phone Time

This week, my 7 year old daughter was at home ill. It turns out that she has a pretty serious virus that will take another week, possibly two, to get rid of.

She is at a new school this year and left many of her friends behind at the old school. But after her first day, she happily bounded down the steps of the bus telling us about her new friend from Toronto. At school, they have been inseparable. We recently met this girl’s parents and exchanged numbers to arrange play dates.

This week I texted them to let them know what was going on with my sick daughter.  They asked back if we have FaceTime?  This little girl regularly keeps in touch with her Toronto friends this way. I said sure, and we set it up.

My daughter was really excited. She wondered if they would speak to each other in French or English since they speak in French at school.

I have tell you, this new experience has lifted my daughter’s spirits enormously.  She has now had two chats with her friend (in English).  Each chat was about 45 minutes long, almost like a little pyjama party!  I laughed when my daughter ran upstairs to change her PJ’S because she had worn them on the previous chat! Sometimes she is 7 going on 13.

I giggled as I quickly cleaned up around the house as these chats usually involve tours and involve roaming around the house. We set a rule of no devices in the bathroom during the first chat.

What do 7 year old do during a FaceTime?

To start, they:

  • introduce their favourite stuffed animals to each other.
  • give tours of their homes and rooms.
  • play musical instruments for each other and even attempt a Christmas duet.
  • play guessing games with paper.
  • involve siblings!

It’s sweet and funny and a bit socially awkward. And like I said, it has lifted her spirits.

I couldn’t help but reminisce about the time I spent talking with friends on the phone when I was a kid. Between my sister and I, no one could get through to our parents! The line was busy until “call waiting” was invented. Like my daughters, our school area covered a large area, so the kids you go to school with don’t live in your neighbourhood. So, there was a lot of phone time in the evenings.

My daughter has turned the corner too health wise, and seems to be through the worst of this illness. Although I’m told the rest will heal slowly.

She had an in person visit by a friend from the “old school” who brought her some crafts and really thoughtful gifts. And I may just have to text those parents. Perhaps our girls, who don’t see each other at school each day could start to FaceTime?

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And well, I’m sure soon I will find myself without my iPad or my iPhone when I need them. Be assured, my 9 year old is watching keenly and making some social plans of her own!  My devices will be “busy”.

Luckily we have a land line.  But I don’t know anyone’s number besides my mom, my husband and mother-in-law!  How will I Tweet? Lol.

It will be neat to see how this all evolves.  It makes me wonder how else we could be using it – perhaps to keep in touch with Snowbird grandparents or other sick relatives.

It has me wondering what social skills I can help my kids refine? How do you answer a FaceTime call for instance and say goodbye?  What rules, parameters or limits will we have to negotiate?

How do you use FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Skype in your personal life?  How do your kids use it? What advice would you give?

Please comment in the area below.

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