5 Ways To Stay Connected Virtually


5 Ways to Stay Connected Virtually

Communication and connection is the most important thing for the deaf community.

Communication is the most important thing for the deaf community. Deaf people usually gather together at school, restaurants, cafes, and each other’s’ houses. Due to COVID-19, we have to distance ourselves to lessen the spread of the virus. While everyone is hurting, this hits especially hard for the deaf community since many of us rely on social gatherings even to be able to have conversations with someone.

Because ASL is both a visual and tactile language, it is most effective when two or more people are together in the same space. In these trying times, technology has been a lifesaver for those of us who need access to information and are desperate to connect with our families and friends. I have been exploring a variety of ways to keep active and keep connected to my community. Here are five ways I kept engaged during my first 2-weeks of quarantine: 

Movie Reel

Watch Movies With Friends – Virtually

Apps like Netflix Party have been amazing for virtual connection. One of my girlfriends is in the United Kingdom, and the other is in Florida. Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that allows users with Netflix accounts to watch movies together at the same time. There is a chatbox feature so that you can make comments in real-time. Currently, there are no emoji or video chatting features for this app, but you can always split your laptop screen and between Netflix and FaceTime. Or use an app that allows for screen sharing and video conferencing. I recommend checking out Scener,ZoomSkype or Discord if you want to go that route.

Party Hat

Host A Virtual Birthday Party – Or Two

If you haven’t wondered how the Pisces’ and Aries’ are doing – we are not ok. Many people born this and next month may be spending a lonely birthday stuck at home. In order not to feel too down, I’ve hosted a virtual birthday party with my family and friends using Zoom. To spice things up, I purchased a portable game package from Jackbox, which has a collection of multiplayer games that everyone can join in from their phones. Usually, the games allow between 3-10 players at a time. I hosted two Jackbox parties with great success, I might say. Also consider checking out House Party and Bunch for more fun alternatives for connection.

Screenshot of two women FaceTiming

Play Phone Games With Your Grandma

 My grandma and I are rivals on Words with Friends. It was her idea to start playing, and she’s already beat me once. Online and mobile games are another way to connect with friends and family while being stuck at home. You might even learn some things you never knew about them before – like how my mom knows Latin. Check out Techradar.com’s list of best phone games to play with your family.  

An arm holding up a weight

Take An Online Fitness Class

Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy. Not being able to go to my dance classes had me pretty depressed at the beginning of the quarantine, but both of my instructors have since started online classes via Zoom, and I tune in every day. Consider looking for online fitness classes to help you get up and move.

From the video:  

Other Deaf Friendly Fitness:  

Web browsers

Take An Online Course

Take the time to learn something new or relearn a skill you might have forgotten. You can engage with other students online. I have been studying Korean on and off for ten years. With the extra time I have at home, I have been able to reconnect with other learners through TalktomeinKorean.com. I have also connected with my friends from Korea to practice. You can find a variety of free courses at CSDLearns.com,  coursera.org and other platforms.

What are some of the ways you are staying connected virtually? Let us know the apps, platforms, games, and tools you recommend. Send us your recommendations on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @ThisIsCSD.

Find More COVID-19 Resources 

Donate to Deaf Organizations Fund