As the last few weeks have shown, the world has very quickly began adjusting for a world that operates online more than it used to. More people are working from home than ever, students are being taught online, and you can even have Netflix Watch parties with your friends from the comfort of your own bed! Now some of you may be a little bit new to this, and some of you may be expert binge-watchers who are ready to stream everything on the Internet. Either way, there is still plenty to learn about the technology and applications available to you from the comfort of your own home.

Probably one of the most crucial types of applications that is being used during these times are video chat applications. While many are quite familiar with Facetime and Skype, they aren’t the only apps that let you video chat your friends and family. There are many great apps out there that allow you to digitally talk with people such as WhatsApp, Discord or Google Hangouts. One thing to consider is that there is no perfect one size fits all video chat application. For many trying to quickly find a video chat app because you miss your friends and family can be daunting just for the reason of you may have never done it before. The good news is almost every video chat app is either free, or has a free plan that has been expanded in response to COVID-19 lockdowns. Read articles online talking about the pros and cons of each kind of chat app, and make an informed decision for yourself.

Now what about entertainment? Talking with friends and family is a great way to pass the time, but they won’t be able to pass ALL the time, this is where streaming can come in handy. Even people living under a rock have heard of apps like Netflix or HBO, have heard of shows like Stranger Things or Game of Thrones, all of these are available to watch on various apps, and they all have free trials! Some companies have even extended their free trials or put up content to watch that does not require an active subscription to watch! For someone who is stuck inside all day, that definitely sounds like a good deal to me.

Now all of this content available at the tip of your fingers sounds like a fantastic deal and it is, but one thing that still needs to be taken seriously is security. With so much of the world now being digital as opposed to in person, people see this as an opportunity to take advantage of those who have little experience and may not know what they are doing. There are several tips you can follow to help minimize your chances of being targeted by people with less than pure intentions online.

The first piece of advice is also the biggest, DO NOT USE THE SAME PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING. With many new accounts possibly needing to be made in quick succession for things online, it can be tempting to pick one password for everything to save time. If you do this, and just one of those accounts gets compromised, you’re going to have a bad time! Another thing to be aware of is scams, while we should always be on the look out from scams from our favorite Nigerian Prince who wants to wire us millions in oil money if we provide our banking info, COVID-19 has also brought about a new wave of scams. Popular scams often involve apparently miraculous medical items relating to treating the virus, and some can take a lot more than just your money. Another common scam is virus-linked websites masquerading as official news sources.

A lot of this may sound scary and worrying to some, but much of this can be avoided just by staying calm and using common sense. Don’t click on suspicious links, pay attention to info from only trusted sources, and think before reacting to some alert you may see on your computer. The times we live in right now are unusual, and they are admittedly a little scary, but this is not the end of the world. We will all get through this, and though the world may be very different in a few months’ time, we will all still be here ready for business.