If you have a friend or relative living a bit further away than you'd like, you can stay in touch with the magic of video chat. It's actually quite simple to set up; here's how to do it.
You can check out the video above to see video chat in action, or follow along with the steps below:
- Download Skype from its home page and install it on your computer. It works on both Windows and Mac machines.
- Start up Skype. If you don't have an account, hit the "don't have an account" or "create an account" button to make one. You just need to enter your name, the password you want to use, an email address, and your "Skype name", which will be the name by which people reach you. Make it something easy for your friends to remember.
- Once you've created your account, you can sign into Skype by entering your Skype name and password. Once you do, your buddy list should pop up. If you've just created a new account, it will be empty.
- To add someone new to your contact list, hit the "Add a Contact" button on the bottom. Type in their Skype name at the bottom, and their phone number and email if desired. To video chat with them, all you really need is their Skype name, though.
- You can see which buddies are online by looking at the small, green Skype logo next to their names. If it's coloured in and has a white check mark on the inside, they're online and available to chat. Double-click on someone's name to chat with them.
- Double-clicking on their name will start a text-only chat. To video chat, hit the "Video Call" button on the next screen, and if they're around, you should see them pop up on your screen.
- That's it! Have your conversation, and when you're done, just hit "end call".
From now on, you can start up Skype whenever you want, and initiate a video chat with any of your friends or family that are online. Note, of course, that you need a webcam connected to your computer for this to work, though many laptops today come with them built-in.