4 ways to use your Android smartphone to stay close to your family. Photo: TCL/ Supplied

Ways to use your Android smartphone to stay close to your family

TCL shares four ways to use your Android smartphone to get closer to your family — wherever you and they are.


4 ways to use your Android smartphone to stay close to your family. Photo: TCL/ Supplied

We live in a busy, tech-centred, and globalised world where Android smartphones have eliminated the luxury of family bonds.


Many people are struggling to balance busy careers and quality time with the people that matter to them. And it’s not unusual to have loved ones scattered around a country and even the world.

Despite perceptions that digital technology is contributing to people’s isolation, smartphones and apps can play a positive role in helping people connect with others. Indeed, when someone is immersed in their Android smartphone, they may be making a memory with someone who is important to them.

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TCL shares four ways to use your Android smartphone to get closer to your family — wherever you and they are.

1. Family chat groups

Messaging and video calling apps mean that it’s cheap and easy to say hello to a family member wherever you are and at any time. Video calls are a great way to spend time together when you can’t be in the same place. And a family chat group is a wonderful way to share jokes and photos, keep each other updated about family news, and do everyday stuff like allocate chores or share the shopping list for the week.

  • WhatsApp: Meta’s free chat and video calling app is on nearly everyone’s phone. Group chats let you share messages, photos, videos, and documents across mobile and desktop.
  • Signal: This is a popular alternative to WhatsApp, with a privacy focus. Send and receive high-fidelity messages, participate in HD voice/video calls, and create group chats.
  • Telegram: Telegram claims to be the fastest messaging app on the market and offers powerful group chat features.

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2.      Family Entertainment

One of the best ways to bond with your family is to share the thrills of the latest drama series, reality TV show or soapie with each other. First prize is to share the experience in the same room at the same time, but if that’s not possible, it’s great to talk once you’ve all caught up with the latest episode. A watch party is a wonderful way to bond over a series when you’re at opposite ends of the world.

  • Teleparty: Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) is an app for watching TV and movies remotely together with friends, e.g., for movie nights with that long-distance special someone. It synchronises video playback and adds group chat to your favourite streaming sites.
  • Showmax: Whether they crave the glamour of The Real Housewives of Durban or prestige drama like The Last of Us, Showmax has something for everyone in your family.
  • Disney+:  With endless entertainment from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star, there’s always something exciting to watch.

3.      Family games
A digital family games night can be every bit as rewarding as gathering around the Monopoly board or playing cards together. From classic board cards and board games to accessible social games, there are plenty of options on offer for Android.

  • Catan Classic: The app plays true to the much-loved game’s rules, letting four players compete for the most settlements, the longest roads and the largest army.
  • Words with Friends: A relaxing but addictive and engaging word game that is perfect to play while you’re chatting.
  • Wolvesville Classic: A werewolf/mafia/Among Us-like game of social deception that will keep your family entertained.

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4.      Fitness apps

If you’re looking for ways to get the whole family moving, there are some awesome fitness apps for your Android device. There are options for everyone, from beginners to the super-fit. Whether you want to get some competition going or just set up healthy routines, your smartphone can help.

  • Strava: Strava makes fitness tracking social. Share your fitness journey with friends and family and cheer each other on. You can share your real-time location with loved ones while outdoors for an extra layer of safety.
  • Just Dance: Get your family moving with 700+ top global hits from around the world. Experience music from all over the world with amazing choreography and gameplay.
  • Sworkit: The Sworkit Fitness system is for people new to fitness, who want to supplement their current fitness habits, or who are just too busy to make it to the gym. It’s perfect for the whole family, with a special workout library for the kids.

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