Technology is making it better then ever for deployed soldiers to stay in touch with their loved ones at home. If your deployed son or daughter has access to Internet services and a computer, then Skype is a great low-cost solution for staying connected.
My son was recently deployed to Afghanistan and he has connected with family members several times using Skype. On Sunday morning, I was enjoying a cup of coffee and logged onto Skype. I saw that my son was online too and we chatted via Skype for 20 minutes. That was a pleasant surprise!
We’ve used text messages, his family got to “see” him on a video call, and he has spoken to his wife on the phone – all using Skype.
To use Skype:
- What you need: Computer (with webcam if you plan to do video calls, Internet connection, Skype)
- What your soldier needs: Computer (with Webcam for video calls, Internet connection, Skype)
What is Skype? Skype is software that enables you to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. Everyday, people everywhere also use Skype to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles.
Here are the basic ways that you can communicate using Skype.
- Instant messages: Sometimes it’s just not convenient to talk. That’s when instant messaging (IM) comes in handy. You can even group chat with three or more people using Skype. You can IM with anyone in your Skype contact list that is online.
- SMS Text messages: Sending a text message directly from Skype is perfect when your deployed soldier wants to send a text message to your cell phone. Just like sending text messages from your mobile, you pay per SMS message you send from Skype, but the costs are usually much lower.
- Video calls: Video calls can make conversations much more interesting. It’s a great way to “see” your deployed son or daughter. Skype to Skype video calls are free too! You will need a webcam to use the video call feature.
- Skype to Skype calls: Make completely free and great quality calls from your computer. You will both need a headset to use this feature but it’s worth it!
- Low-cost calls to landlines and cell phones around the world: It’s easy and quite inexpensive to call phones and mobiles abroad directly from Skype.
- Skype voicemail: Let Skype take incoming calls when your soldier is busy, unavailable or simply offline. Then they can listen to messages the next time they are signed in to Skype.