Tuesday, January 21, 2020

5 Ways Family Apps & Tech Improve Connectedness

Erin Ollila
August 23, 2019

3 minute read

Tech often gets a bad rap for distancing families or interrupting daily life, but there are actually many apps, tools, and processes that seek to connect families. Here are five family apps and tech that help strengthen bonds and keep memories safe for years to come.

Apps to work on relationships

Marriage can be difficult, especially when the pressures of other commitments, like children and work, end up taking precedence over the commitment you made to your spouse. To be in a healthy relationship takes effort, but for some couples, the pressure of talking through issues can feel overwhelming and marriage counseling seems too far-fetched.

Good news. There are many tech tools spouses can use to reconnect or work through issues in a manner that is separate, yet together. One example is Lasting: Marriage Health App from The Knot, in which couples complete 5-minute sessions, quizzes, and exercises. Then, their individual answers are synced and compared, and the app will point out strengths and areas to focus on. It even has a reminder system built in that nudges the user to take part in daily habits, such as sharing a compliment, asking about their day, or showing gratitude.

Cloud photo sharing apps

Photos and videos are a great way to connect with family, but with jut about everyone in the house (well, except the dog) having their own smartphone, it’s tough to bond over recent images as they’re all synced to one device or cloud account. However, many of the top photo syncing apps are beginning to create a family or partner experience where all photos from individual devices are shared in one central cloud location. Google Photos allows for one partner to be added to an account to receive all synced photos, and Amazon Photos allows Prime members to invite up to 5 individual accounts to sync photos to a Family Vault.

Family apps for organizing the household

Who’s picking the kids up from school today? What time is drum practice again? Wait, and what’s for dinner? If these are regular questions asked on a daily basis, your family might need a digital organizational system that manages everyone’s schedules and meals. For example, Cozi syncs calendars between all users so it’s obvious who is busy, as well as who is responsible for transporting family members to their activities. Even better, shopping list and dinner plans are shared between users.

Shared tech to create shared experiences

If you love to spend time together as a family, tech can help you create these experiences. Let’s pretend Saturday movie night is a thing in your house. Netflix, as an example, is the perfect family app for choosing the entertainment. First, each member of the family can have their own profiles that allows them to save movies and shows to their queue that can later be voted on when the big night rolls around. In addition, if the movies are watched on a shared “family” profile, Netflix will share recommendations for future viewing based on the movies you’ve watched in the past.

Don’t forget the family far away

Video conferencing is one way to keep the extended family close when distance separates you. Involve grandma, grandpa, or any other long-distance relatives in your day-to-day routine by letting them use family apps and tech to read books to your children or sing them songs as part of their bedtime routine. One example is Portal from Facebook, a hands-free smart camera that captures users completely as they are, so there are no awkward angles from holding a phone.

Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. After a 12+ year career in human resources, she's jumped headfirst into digital strategy. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media.
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