Get your internet and devices set up to help you beat boredom and stay social.
The Covid-19 pandemic has sent New Zealanders into four weeks of self-isolation, but you don’t have to be bored or lonely – here’s how technology can keep you entertained and socially connected.
Remember that isolation only refers to physical interactions. Keeping socially connected is vitally important for your well-being. We’ve got tips on how to use technology to stay in touch with others and stop yourself going stir-crazy.
Your internet connection is going to be essential through all of this. You’ll want to ensure your network is robust enough to handle everyone in your home being online simultaneously.
Streaming video services are a godsend at times like this. Services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Neon have loads of content you can binge while in isolation.
You can even watch streaming video with friends throughout the country either by coordinating start times and using video chat or using third-party programs, such as Netflix Party.
As most sporting events are cancelled or postponed, Spark Sport and Sky Sport Now are showing re-runs, highlights packages and other extras. Spark Sport is also free until the end of May.
Also trying to entice more viewers, Acorn TV (which streams British TV shows) has extended its free trial period for new users from seven days to one month. Use the code ACORNTVNZ30 to activate it.
Video games are a good way to hang out with other people while staying indoors, with lots of multiplayer games having in-game chat features. There’s no need to go into a store, as most games are available via download. For consoles this is via their stores, and for PC games try sites such as Steam’s online store or Humble Bundle.
Xbox’s Game Pass service is also a good option, as you can get a lot of games for a single subscription fee. Apple Arcade is a similar service for Apple users. Note that the games are only playable if you have a current subscription and will require an internet connection.
This is also a good time to support writers you enjoy by buying their books as e-books. And because concerts have been cancelled, you can support musicians instead by buying their music via sites that send profits directly to the artists (rather than streaming), such as Bandcamp.
Video calling your friends and family is one of the best ways to keep in social contact when physical contact is prohibited.
But you don’t need to just talk. Video chats can be a chance to play board games together, have a glass of wine, or almost any other type of social gathering while staying physically distant. You can also screen share, which allows you to show those on the call what you’re looking at.
If you’ve never video chatted before and want to know the etiquette. The basics are:
Some programs offer “beautification” filters and customised background images to make things a bit more fun. However, if you find the video is lagging behind the audio or getting jittery, turn off the extras as they take more bandwidth and could be slowing everything down.
One thing we all need to do is eat.
Supermarkets are doing their best to fill online delivery orders. Remember the Government’s announcement and shop normally. This means no stockpiling and no “just in case” buys. Online deliveries may seem like an easier and safer option than queuing, but remember you may be taking a delivery slot from someone unable to get to the supermarket.
Even at times like this, awful people will be trying to scam you and your loved ones. Ignore any emails or communications mentioning Covid-19 that don’t come directly official sources, such as the Government or your registered medical centre.
These scams are preying on your fears to make you less aware of what you’re clicking on. Stay vigilant. Even during a global crisis, people will share inaccurate or outright fabricated stories on social media. Sharing fake information during a pandemic can cost lives.
These articles can easily fool people, so here are a few things to consider before you share it with others:
If you make an online faux pas and share a fake story, act quickly. You may be embarrassed but admit it to everyone on your online networks and delete as much as you can, so the story doesn’t spread.