“My daughter organizes a virtual sleepover every Friday with her friends. It’s been a great way for them to connect, as some are in e-learning, some are home-schooling this year and some are in-person. They use Discord and get online around 6 p.m., play Roblox together and watch a movie in party mode on Disney+. After a long, lonely summer (she’s an only child), it brings me so much joy to hear shrieks and giggles coming from her room, both hers and her friends’.”
— Stephanie Kuenn, Chicago
“My 10-year-old and her BFF have a standing weekly Snapchat date, where they talk and use silly filters and ‘play’ together. She also has started a pen pal friendship with my college friend’s daughter, who is her age but lives on a farm in a different state. She writes and asks about her life, how she’s doing and shares the same about hers. It’s been really sweet. They had met once or twice as much younger kids, and it’s cute how they’ve made a bond of their own through letters during this time.”
— Amy Varga, Tualatin, Ore.
“My children do scavenger hunts via Zoom. They give each other clues, run around the house to find the object, run back to the computer. It’s entertaining and a fun way to connect with their cousins and friends.”
— Nidal Khaja, Istanbul, Turkey
“In 2019, my 11-year-old daughter had the opportunity to study in Tartu, Estonia, for a semester and got to make lots of friends but didn’t keep in touch much when she got back, because she’d rather run around and play physically with her friends outside.
Fast forward to mid-2020 and with being online constantly, she was able to reconnect with her friends back in Tartu, and they have a blossoming friendship. Technology gave her back that much-needed human connection.”
— Arufeni Mnene Orawo, Nairobi, Kenya
“Our daughter will be 2 in early February. We usually see her grandparents at least a few times a year, even my husband’s parents who are on the opposite side of the country. They’ve canceled four trips out here this year. But we’ve been FaceTiming with them much more than we normally would. She now knows their names and asks us to call them regularly. They’re even in her ‘roll call,’ when she’s singing a song and inserts the names of all the people she knows. It’s sad that she can’t see them in person, but I feel like the pandemic has ensured she’s building an even stronger relationship with them, even from afar.”
— Cassie Blom, Aptos, Calif.
“Our 18-month-old son is our first child. Both of my parents are high risk and have only been able to interact with him virtually since March. During our last chat, my son could not stop kissing his granny on the face and at one point gave the iPad a hug. The love and connection are still there, even if virtually.”
— Hillary Luther, Minneapolis