Video Calls Have Their Usefulness
One thing that smartphones excel at is video calls. Tonight – Christmas Eve – was a perfect example of this.
It's the first time we've traveled to be with extended family for Christmas since 2019 – before the COVID-19 pandemic. My family, along with my two brothers and their families, planned to have Christmas Eve dinner with my mother and step-father and a small gift exchange afterward.
For various reasons, one of my brothers had to cancel his family's travel plans. We were sad that they wouldn't be able to join us in-person and that we would have to go at least one more Christmas without them. But thanks to modern technology, we used my (“ancient”) iPhone 8 to do a FaceTime call with them during our gift exchange. I played cameraman as family members opened their gifts and then passed the phone around to each family member to have a quick chat.
It is true there is no substitute for in-person interaction. But when in-person interaction cannot happen, video calls can be the next best thing.
If and when I decide to stop carrying a smartphone on my person, there will be other ways of doing video calls. A laptop, a tablet, or even a smartphone as a secondary device dedicated for specific functions like that.
Because, as was demonstrated tonight, a video call was able to bridge hundreds of miles and connect our family in a way that I only dreamed of as a child watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. While I lament other technological “advances” that seem to have done more harm than good or have mixed results at best (social media), video calls are one achievement I can wholly and unapologetically support.