Staying connected: 5 apps to help you chat to friends in isolation


With no end in sight to the recommended and enforceable social-distancing measures, finding new way to connect are more important than ever.

But thanks to modern technology there are more than a few ways we can still chat and catch up with each other. We've rounded up our favourite apps and services to help us stay connected in isolation. Call and speak to your family or use them to organise a games night. Here's what we're using.


House Party

This app is experiencing a huge resurgence now that most of us are housebound. You've probably heard a few people talking about it and have received one or two invites already.

In essence it's an app that allows you to group chat on video with your friends. But there are also features like games to play with those in your chat. Invite your friends, start a chat, or join a chat, this one is very user-friendly.



Now's the time to get back into Skype, if you're not already. The RUSSH team are big fans and we all use this one daily while working from home. Skype allows you to instant message, voice chat or video chat.

You can also load cash to your Skype account and make phone calls. It's a great feature if the international calls included in your phone plan are a little expensive. On Skype they're just a few cents a minute. I used this feature a lot to call home while I was travelling, it's a great way to stay in touch with overseas friends and family.



Zoom is an app and website that's often thought of as an office tool. But anyone can get a Zoom account, they're free. If you are on a free tier, there are a few restrictions to meeting times for groups, but other than that it works like a charm. Zoom has a feature that allows you to share your screen with the others in the meeting, so you can play group games or even watch things together and talk.


Jackbox TV

This is a web-based game that allows you to join on your phone. One of the classic games has everyone taking a turn to share a question which the other players then have to answer. Person with the most points wins. But there are other games too.

Normally this game is meant for you to sit around a TV together to watch the game screen, which we obviously can't do at the present. So, if one people will have to share the game screen to everyone else using zoom, and then you can connect and play on you phone as normal.



An old favourite. Whatsapp is an easy way to stay in touch with people. Especially those overseas but it's free to use even if you're making a phone call. It's also very user-friendly and can be used with existing phone numbers. This is the app I recommend to those in my family that aren't particularly tech savvy.