8 free ways to video chat with loved ones while social distancing

Your friendships don't have to suffer by social distancing. They can grow virtually.

In this Jan. 14, 2019 photo, a patient sits in the living room of her Brooklyn apartment during a video conference.

Stuck inside to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, many at home are starting to feel that social distancing can also feel isolating. While the CDC recommends staying in, avoiding crowds, and limiting contact, it doesn’t mean you can’t go see your family and friends — virtually.

Here’s a list of free video chat platforms that can help you connect to others face-to-face without having to leave the couch.

FaceTime – for iOS users

Google Duo -for Android users, compatible with iOS

Facebook Messenger

Google Hangouts






There’s a Google Chrome browser extension called Netflix Party that allows users with Netflix accounts to stream shows concurrently online. You can even avoid the “You watched our show without me?” argument altogether, so long as each of you uses Google Chrome.


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