Staying positive during the coronavirus pandemic can be challenging, especially if you are separated from friends and family. Keeping up a healthy lifestyle whilst in isolation is vital, and maintaining your social life from the safety of your own home will help you feel supported and connected during this unsettling time. Check out these fun ways to hang out with friends when you can’t leave the house.
Catching up on the latest Netflix releases is a great way to stay entertained whilst in isolation, and now, with the Netflix Party browser extension, you can enjoy your favourite movies and TV shows with friends. Netflix Party allows users to create groups and simultaneously stream content, including pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding with their friends. A chat bar is also included, so you and your friends can talk as if you are watching in the same room. The Google Chrome extension can be downloaded by anyone with a Netflix account, allowing you to interact with friends from the comfort of your own home.
You’ve probably been hearing about Houseparty – the app has been around for a few years, but is now the perfect self-isolation tool. It works as a face-to-face video group-chat app, but has the added fun of games, like pop culture quizzes, so you can play in real-time with your friends. The app is free, downloadable to your smartphone or computer, and you can have up to eight people at your ‘party’.
Room 2 Radio
If you’re a keen party-goer struggling with the monotony of isolation, Room 2 Radio has you covered. Created by two Sydneysiders, this virtual nightclub experience is bringing the hottest musical lineups to your screen, letting you keep the party going even in isolation. Organisers encourage Room 2 Radio attendees to limit the number of people viewing together, and are taking safe social distancing measures whilst running the online club. Room 2 Radio also features a chatroom for anyone wanting to socialise with other virtual party goers.
In the digital age, being in isolation doesn’t mean you can’t see your friends and family face-to-face. With increasingly reliable apps for video group calls, being able to see your loved ones will help you to maintain your social life and connection to the outside world. Face-to-face apps are also a great way to meet for study and work requirements, helping you to communicate directly and efficiently. Zoom’s free plan offers one-on-one livestreams with no time limit, or for up to 50 people for no more than 40 minutes. The app provides excellent livestreams, even if your internet connection is unreliable, and doesn’t require a super-powerful computer to work.
Google Hangouts is another great way to hang out with your friends face-to-face, especially if you are a Gmail user; although you don’t need a Google account to join a call, you will need one to organise a chat. Free group calls for up to 25 people make it comparable to Zoom, though users rate the call quality of Google Hangours as slightly lacking in comparison to Zoom. The feature is integrated with other Google apps, meaning you can share content from Google Drive during livestreams and schedule calls in Google Calendar. Use livestream apps to arrange a dinner date with friends, or do a group work-out to stay active whilst you isolate.
Regular trivia-goer but can’t attend your local quiz night? Luckily, there are plenty of virtual options across Australia. Various pubs and trivia companies are getting creative by hosting online trivia nights that let you go head-to-head from the comfort of your living room. Melbourne-based Shit Pub Trivia is hosting a trivia night every Wednesday, while Janet’s Local Taphouse Trivia is being hosted on Zoom every Sunday evening. Alternatively, check out Isolation Trivia (which is hosting multiple trivia nights every week, including themed quizzes) or Dangerous Females’ Couch Quiz Night, which is raising money for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
For board game-lovers, Tabletopia is the perfect online destination. The site gives you and your friends access to over 800 games from chess to Secret Hitler, and lets you join games in progress with other users. The site also features an editor which allows users to build their own board games without any prior programming knowledge or experience. The site can be accessed from browsers on Mac and Windows, or you can download the app from Steam, App Store, or Google Play.
Cards Against Humanity
The “party game for horrible people”, as described by its creators, Cards Against Humanity is guaranteed to entertain. The game involves responding to black question cards with your funniest white answer card, each card containing random and ridiculous phrases. The humour and simple design of the game have made it a hit amongst students, and its availability online through various hosts (accessible by a Google search) means you can join in on the fun whilst isolated. Combine a game of Cards Against Humanity with a Room 2 Radio stream for a virtual party experience with your friends, all whilst staying safe and healthy.
Discord is an established hit amongst avid video gamers, but is gaining mainstream popularity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The app allows you to communicate with friends via voice, text, and video, creating invite-only servers that mimic offline socialisation. Discord is designed around an informal aesthetic rather than a business model, making it ideal for hanging out with friends or niche interest groups, such as clubs or gaming communities. The app is available for free download on Mac, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Android.