If you’d like to see the person you’re talking to, Skype will do that for you. It’s a more ‘real’ experience for grandkids, or for anyone. Skype is an Internet-based phone and video communication system that is free or inexpensive. You must have a computer and Internet service. It also works on mobile devices. To use it, you download the software from their site. You need either a built in microphone and webcam in your computer or a separate microphone and webcam. To Skype for free, both parties have to communicate on computers. To learn more, go to www.skype.com.
I downloaded the free Skype computer-to-computer software. It allowed me to remotely attend my book club that met too far away for me to get there when I didn’t have a car. To Skype with someone who is on a landline telephone there is a fee. Skype has very low international rates. If you want services like conference calling or overseas calling, you’ll need Skype Premium at $9.99 a month. Comb your hair and put your clothes on, it’s video too, just like in the old science fiction movies.
Caution: like any other connection to the outside world, Skype is susceptible to cheats and hackers. The second call I received came from an automated voice that wanted to scam me, claiming my computer was unprotected and I should log into its site. Rascals!
Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.