In today’s times of the COVID – 19 pandemic and the social distancing norms that are still in force, life has become quite secluded for most people. Socializing, going out for movies, meeting people on dates is but a distant dream still. Given these restrictions, video chatting portals have seen a considerable upswing in the last year. These video apps are the most convenient way of connecting with family and friends located far and wide as well as a novel form of forging new bonds. People are scurrying towards these virtual friend finder apps to have distant socializing in times of social distancing.
However, with so many video chatting portals available today, it can be quite a daunting task to find a reliable one to start your virtual sojourn of finding friends. Each video chatting app is packaged beautifully, showcasing all its features but only when you read the fine print do you understand the underlying conditions and costs. Hence, it is pertinent to do a thorough study of the available video chatting portals and do an elimination through informed selection. Follow this checklist before deciding on any one video chatting portal and you are sure to find a secure app.
1. Check security features
The most quintessential thing lookout for, while hunting for your favorite app, is the security feature. Many fraudsters are lurking around in the virtual world just to nab innocent people and you don’t want to be easy prey. While scouting around for a video chatting portal, always check for these:
● Are the chats end-to-end encrypted?
This feature secures the call so that it is seen only by the people using it, not even the app.
● Can the video calls be intercepted and also recorded by another person?
● Ways in which the account data is being used
Check out if the video chatting website follows all the privacy policies like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation or California’s Consumer Privacy Act. This shows how transparent the apps are with their users and if the data collected can be accessed by third parties. Also, create a foolproof password that is a combination of letters, alphanumerics and numerics. Keep changing the password frequently to ensure that the account is not hacked into.
2. Look out for the anonymity feature
While video chatting is a fun activity, it can also be quite intimidating for someone shy. You may not be comfortable sharing your personal details and picture initially with someone. One of the most important features to look out for in this case is a video chatting portal’s anonymity. This allows you to maintain your privacy till the time you get to know the person well. Popular video chatting portal Camfrog allows users to maintain their confidentiality until they are ready to share it. This helps them ease into the idea of video chatting with a stranger and makes them more confident of having conversations without any inhibitions. This feature also works as a security measure in the initial days of chatting when you do not know the person and his/her intentions.
3. Read reviews
One way to find out about the popularity and authenticity of any video chatting portal is to read other people’s reviews about it. The more positive reviews, the better it is for you. A simple google search will be able to tell you about what people think of the app. In fact, most of the apps also have a viewer’s or user’s review section, where you can read comments about the portal. This should give you a fair idea about the video chatting app.
4. Thorough study and research
5. Create an authentic profile
After having decided on the video chatting app, you need to create a profile. These pointers should help you create a genuine profile:
- Give a brief description about yourself in which you mention your likes, dislikes and interests.
- If you plan to put up a picture, keep it candid and informal with enough light coming on
your face. The photo should be an honest depiction of you and your personality.
- Clearly mention your reason for joining the video chatting portal so that only those with similar intentions will approach you.
- State your expectations from people. For instance, if you are an outdoor person
interested in treks and sailing and seek friends with similar hobbies, it’s best to mention it clearly in the profile. This helps filter out a lot of the crowd. In fact, many of the apps have filters where you can put in your likes and expectations and it will only show you similar profiles. This helps sift out the bulk of the uninteresting people.
6. Do not divulge personal details
Even though most of the video chatting portals are end-to-end encrypted and follow all safety procedures, it is still best not to disclose any personal details in the initial conversations. Abstain from giving out details like residential address, pictures, and other information. Get to know the person well, understand him/her and know his/her intentions, only then reveal more of yourself. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!
7. Keep conversations casual and informal
Video chatting is an excellent way to meet new people without having to step out of your home. It is a great way to interact and exchange ideas and thoughts without making an effort to go out. However, it can be slightly intimidating and awkward to initiate conversations with a total stranger. To keep the flow of interactions and make them attractive, it is best to avoid serious discussions. Avoid speaking about political and religious matters. Do not get into very personal conversations in the first few times. These types of talks can put a person off and make them wary of your intentions.
It is best to keep the chats fun, casual and informal. In fact, many of the video chatting apps like Camfrog have interesting features like Gifts and Stickers, where you can give virtual gifts to your new friends. These work as great ice-breakers and also ease out the conversations. Besides these, you can also join the public chat rooms where you get to meet more people and have common topics to discuss. There are topic or interest-oriented chat rooms that you can be a part of depending on your interest.
8. Speak as much as you listen
Conversations are two-way, so it is pertinent to speak as much as you listen. Monologuing is undoubtedly not the way to make new friends. Share your point of view on matters but also be interested in listening to the other person. It will make the chatting sessions more interactive and help you find out more about the person. In fact, you should encourage the person to speak by asking him/her about their interests, likes, dislikes and more. Forge a healthy relationship from the start, and who knows, it might blossom into a long-lasting bond.
9. Avoid downloading files from strangers
File sharing in the form of pictures, videos and audios is an excellent feature that a lot of video chatting apps have. It makes conversations more interactive and inclusive. You can share photos about your latest holiday or exchange YouTube videos about exciting debates and discussions. This feature most definitely makes interactions more exciting but it is best avoided in the initial days. Get to know the person well and only then share files of any form with him/her. If you are a part of a public chat room, avoid downloading files sent from strangers. It could possibly be a virus or malware to hack into your laptop and get personal details. Be vigilant about what you are sharing and receiving.
10. Focus on good video and audio quality
Another critical aspect of finding friends through video chatting portals is to have clear audio and video capability. You cannot have time-lags and pixelated images while chatting. It will disrupt the flow of conversation. So ensure that you have a stable, high-speed broadband connection. Also, get a high-resolution webcam for better image quality and pick up a pair of headphones with a microphone for better audio.
11. Multi-platform support
You might choose to use an Android device today but later switch to an iPhone. If your video chatting portal does not have multi-platform support, it will disrupt your budding friendship. So lookout for a video chatting app that supports all kinds of platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows and Linux. Also, regularly update the app so that the speed is reduced and it does not take up too much space on your device.
Some of the popular and safe video chatting apps
Here are some of the user-friendly, safe and popular video chatting apps that you can check out to make new friends.
It is a fun, interactive and user-friendly app. It has the best security features keeping conversations secure. But what sets it apart are the entertainment features. You can have fun with the gifts and stickers available in the Virtual store. Use the public chat rooms to have conversations with a large number of people and discuss your hobbies and interests. You can make interactions more fun by playing games. The app has a list of enjoyable games that can be great conversation starters too. If you want to have a more personal chat with your new friend you can choose to communicate in a room type called “pond”. All these and more make Camfrog one of the most popular video chatting portals in the US.
Zoom is one of the most popular video chatting apps today. It is a mix between a work and socializing app. It allows up to 50 people to chat together regardless of having an account. You can choose from a wide array of virtual backgrounds for an online party, use screen-sharing to watch any live shows together and also have private conversations through breakout rooms. It also has a polling feature that gives you live results in a game and a whiteboard with an annotation feature for games like Pictionary.
A fun and entertaining video chatting portal, Paltalk is a safe way to reconnect with old friends and find new ones. Akin to Camfrog, it has excellent privacy settings that make chatting safe and secure. This feature-heavy app can make conversations enjoyable and interactive through its fun filters, virtual gifts, and chat rooms.
Get ready for a lot of fun with these apps on weekend nights and in-between those long, boring work calls.
Video chatting is an excellent alternative to finding friends when a physical meeting is difficult. And with the modern feature-heavy video chatting portals, it is almost like meeting someone in real life. It has made it convenient and safe to find new friends and also keep in touch with old ones. Every app is trying to better itself as compared to the other, offering an increasing number of features. Today, you can not only speak and see them but also share pictures, videos, audios and much more through this medium. However, it would help if you did not get swayed by all the glam and gloss of video chatting portals and instead be vigilant while choosing
the app. Ensure that you check all the boxes of the checklist mentioned above for an enjoyable and seamless video chatting experience.