It has become an unfortunate reality that many of our children are living and working abroad, but the good news is that Skype can bring them “virtually” back into our homes.
The exact number of South Africans living abroad is not known, but has been estimated recently at about 1.5 million.
Skype is software that enables the world’s conversations. Millions of people worldwide use Skype to make free video and voice calls, and it is said that the average useage of Skype is around 1.2 million at any one time. According to South African leading technology research organization World Wide Worx, there were over 5 million internet users in South Africa in 2009. So why don’t you consider using Skype and share magic moments with your overseas or local family and friends.
Naz Daniels is a South African doctor living in London with her husband, Craig and their toddler son, Zach. Her parents, Mary and David Daniels, live in Cape Town. They “skype” each other regularly, at least four times a week, and this has enabled Mary and David to create and maintain a special relationship with their first grandson, Zach, and to keep up to date with all the family special moments.
In terms of equipment to get you started on Skype, all you need is a computer, an internet connection, speakers and microphone – built-in or separate, and a webcam. And then you can use Skype to make free Skype-to-Skype video calls or voice calls over the internet.
Here’s how you do it:
- Go to www.skype.com and click the ‘Get Skype’.
- Click on the green button ‘Get Skype for Windows’, or click ‘On your computer’ to download Skype if you are a Mac or Linux user.
- Click on ‘Download now’.
- Following the instructions on how to create an account or sign in – this will take a couple of minutes.
- When the download is complete, follow the onscreen instructions to save the SkypeSetup.exe file.
- Then all you will need to do is run the SkypeSetup.exe file. The Skype Setup Wizard will appear and guide you through the rest of the installation. This will take a few minutes.
- After the installation is complete, you can open and use Skype at any time. To Open Skype, double-click the Skype icon on your desktop or in the Start menu.
- When you first start Skype, you’ll be asked to set up an account. Click ‘Don’t have a Skype name?’ to create an account.
- Type in your name, then create a Skype username and a password. Follow the instructions from there and click ‘Sign in’ and then you are ready to start adding friends and family as contacts.
- If the person you’re calling has Skype too, you’ll be able to call their PC directly at no cost. First, add them to your contacts list. To do this, click on ‘Add’ in the main Skype window and enter their Skype name, full name or email address.
- If your contact is online, click on their name and then on the green button with the icon of a telephone headset. Now all they have to do is answer your call.
- For privacy, and better call quality, use a dedicated headset. Contact your local computer store to view a selection of Skype-certified webcams and headsets.
- You can also go to Skype’s homepage at www.skype.com to find a detailed video guide on how to make a free Skype video call.
- You can also chat using typed messages. Click on a contact, and then on the blue button to send your message.