Now more than ever, the importance of staying connected to our loved ones has become a major priority. The pandemic has caused us to be physically separated yet allowed us new ways to reconnect with our loved ones emotionally. Video calls and digital family get togethers have become the new norm, these activities now hold a special place in our hearts. The flip side to this is when people feel socially isolated. If they’re unable to connect with the people they care about, it can impact their mental and emotional wellbeing.
“The Census Bureau findings support earlier reports about the COVID-19 impact on the nation’s mental health. In April, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that half of Americans said they felt emotionally impacted by the pandemic, while the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention noted that people are experiencing anxiety and sadness more than before the pandemic began in late winter.” Hartford Healthcare
During COVID-19, our country has seen a rise in people feeling sad, anxious, lonely and even depressed. Checkexpress wants to help safeguard our community and empower everyone during this time! We’re here to remind all of you that there are ways to stay connected (safely) to your family and friends – even if you can’t see them in person.
We’re lucky to live in a digitally connected world. Here are some simple yet life-saving ways you can connect with others wherever they are, using your phone, tablets, and computers. But what if you don’t know how to connect on this level? Perhaps you’ve never needed to use these types of services. No need to be stressed, we are here to help…
First things first, let’s get your devices ready for connection! Starting with cellphones.
Families face several challenges: If you have teenagers in the home on the same mobile service as you, they may be affecting your monthly limits and charges with their constant use of the family’s data plan. Save money on communication with prepaid phones, plus you’ll avoid expensive plans and monthly fees. With many children at home, having safe access to their peers is a big deal. Give them controlled access to their friends and classmates by purchasing prepaid phones from one of our many locations.
At Checkexpress, we offer a variety of cellular product solutions to meet your mobile phone needs! Whether you are looking to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone or calling cards, we’ve got you covered. Services offered include:
- Pre-paid Cell Phones
- Pre-paid Calling Cards
- Long Distance
Quick tip: Can’t afford some of the more pricey video call apps? Use these same prepaid phones to communicate with family and friends via Facebook Messenger and even Instagram calls for free! For younger users, there are parent controlled video/chat apps like Messenger for Kids via Facebook.
Now let’s talk finances…
Majority of apps that allow you to video call require access to your mobile billing, personal credit card, or banking information. For example, apps like Zoom have limited free features and if you have a large family, you definitely need to opt for the features that allows unlimited meeting times. To lock in a plan that’s right for your family, it will require the use of a credit or debit card.
Don’t have a debit card yet? Or would you prefer using a preloaded card like Green dot? Feel secure adding your financial info online by using predebit cards that you can load at Checkexpress or online. We sell and load Green Dot Prepaid Debit Cards at Checkexpress! Using our prepaid debit card services, you can:
- Obtain a new debit card
- Load funds on an existing debit card
- Experience the convenience of a credit card without the bills
- Use it wherever VISA is accepted
- Have peace of mind with FDIC insurance
Quick tip: Need more assistance? We’ve got you covered. Check out our blog Family Resources for Relief During COVID-19!
Taking inventory of devices and apps…
You have your phone, you have your method of payment – but do you have a laptop or tablet? While most apps are phone compatible, many users (especially older people) prefer to use computers since they are larger screens and easier to read. Check out this resource for affordable laptops in Chicago! Once you’re squared away with a proper device and debit card, the next step is to choose a method of staying connected. Here are some tools to help you keep in touch:
* All of these applications are compatible with iOS, Android, and PC.
WhatsApp: A global service connects you with friends and family via message, call or video chat. WhatsApp is for any device.
Skype: Allows you to send messages, pictures and videos to other Skype accounts. You can also make phone calls to non-Skype contacts, including landline numbers Skype can be used on any device.
Zoom: If it seems like everyone uses Zoom! Well that’s because a lot of people do. Zoom is a highly reliable video chat hangout option. It’s great for business as well as family time. There is a 40 minute time limit if you only opt for the free account, but can be easily updated for your needs.
Google Hangouts: A lot have people have Gmail accounts and anyone who has these accounts can start and join a “hangout” video call. The advantage of Google Hangouts is that there’s no time limit to your video chat. The downside, however, is that only 10 participants are allowed in the video chat room.
Exploring the fun reasons why a debit card will come in handy…
In addition to video call and chat apps, there are other fun ways of staying connected with family and friends. Activities like streaming movies, music and even enjoying digital concerts may require debit/credit cards. Having access to a debit card allows you to expand your digital experience. If you have a variety of ways to enjoy your family and the world safely, it will help to keep your spirits high during this challenging time.
You’re probably thinking: Sure this all sounds like a great plan B to being together in person, but what about the in person events? I love like going to a Bears game or tailgating with my friends! Did you know there are digital options available?
Digital tailgating: Watching major sports games online with your loved ones has become a popular new pastime! People across the nation are now digitally tailgating before their favorite teams play. Never miss a shot or touch down from the safety of your home. Connect with these digital sports sources to feel part of the game!
“Tailgating at home — or, as we’ve called it for years, “homegating” — is the best alternative for game-day gatherings when the stadium parking lot is off-limits or seen as too much of a health risk.” BBQGuys
Movie nights are still a thing! Now that you’ve found a tool to stay connected with the family, start popping popcorn again cozy up on the couch with your favorite blanket, laptop propped up and ready to enjoy a movie with loved ones! Not sure what to watch or which streaming service is the best for you? Check out our guide What you need to be watching during quarantine for some binge-worthy movie night ideas and learn how to connect with a streaming service that is right for you.
You can still beat grandpa at chess: Keep the dice rolling and the games going with a virtual game night! You can play a small game of cards with friends or make new friends while strengthening your gaming skills. Perhaps play a round of digital Chess, Candy Land or Monopoly. The possibilities are endless once you start exploring all the fun that can be had online…
“A virtual game night is an evening of shared delight provided by online games that include anything from professionally hosted virtual trivia nights to classic board games that just got virtual makeovers.” Snack Nation
Fun websites like SnackNation.com help you find a game that’s right for you and the family. Get the ball rolling by checking out their virtual games now. Snack nation shares 30 virtual game ideas for a safe 2020!
Digital concerts: Get your surround sound ready to blast your favorite jams! Make a fun night of dressing up and partying with your family from the safety of your own home. Digital concerts are bringing your favorite artists into America’s living room. Use NPRs list of upcoming digital concerts to stay connected with the latest online concerts!
Black Friday: Get your holiday shopping done early without leaving the house. Use our services to secure a financial line to the hottest and most affordable deals this year! CNET shares the latest in all upcoming Black Friday deals! Lost your job? No worries, we have ideas! Read our blog Your Guide to Making Money Without Leaving Your Couch to make some money in time for the holidays.
Older people have been affected significantly by COVID-19. Their safety is a major concern for their loved ones. We’ve compiled a financial guide for keeping the elderly protected and connected during this challenging time. Protecting the elderly from potential scams as well as sharing helpful financial, digital resources. All while giving your elder loved ones more independence (safely) during this pandemic. Get more information on local resources for chicago senior citizens here!