6 ways to have fun with technology

Computers, smartphones, and other gadgets have become a necessity in our work and personal lives. But they don’t have to be used so seriously! Technology can also bring us some fun, laughter, and enjoyment.

I’m reminded of this often from my kids. I have to spend most days typing, talking on the phone and fixing computers and networks, while they have time to have fun with technology. So like me, consider spending more time just enjoying technology.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Be goofy with Snapchat: This is one of the most popular smartphone apps with the younger generations. You can send photos or videos to your friends and family members who have the app and the photo or video disappears from their device after so many seconds of viewing it. So you can be goofy! The best part: the app has photo filters and effects that you can apply. Maybe swap faces with someone, give yourself or someone else bunny ears and a nose, change your voice into a mouse squeak, or picture yourself as a dancing hot dog. Some are totally weird, but they are funny. My 13-year-old daughter is always on Snapchat.

Talk to your devices: Most devices these days you can talk to and they respond with some sort of action, like displaying search results, answering your question, or performing a task. Windows 10 computers now have the talking assistant Cortana, Android phones and tablets have Google Assistant, and Apple iPhones and iPads have Siri. These can be useful, but they can also be fun to play with. Siri on Apple devices seems to be the best and most intelligent digital assistant. Whatever device you have, maybe ask it some real questions, and also some silly ones. My 6-year-old son can talk to Siri for hours and be giggling the whole time.

Video chat with others: Though talking on the phone lets you communicate with family and friends, video chatting is on another level. You can see and hear them, and they feel more present. It's great for talking with people you can't physically meet often. If you have a computer with a webcam or an Android phone or tablet, maybe use Skype. Or if you have an Apple iPhone or iPad, use the FaceTime app. When my daughter is home and has nothing to do, she's usually on video chat with a friend.

Watch YouTube Videos: The TV can be boring. You're pretty limited to what type of content and shows you can watch. But video sharing sites like YouTube.com allow you to search for and watch videos on pretty much any topic imaginable. Maybe search for videos on gardening, classic cars, cooking, or even funny topics like jokes, pranks or standup comedy. This is another technology my kids, and many others these days, use on a daily basis.

Play games on your phone or computer: Windows comes with some card games installed and ready to play, but there are many more games you can download. And smartphones and tablets don't usually come with any games installed. So, consider installing some. Maybe try cross-word puzzles, trivia games, or even the popular Pokemon Go game if you're really adventurous.

Play active games on a TV: You don't have to be a couch-potato to play games. There are some active video game systems, like the Nintendo Wii, Xbox Kinect, and the PlayStation Move. These all have a special sensor controller or camera that tracks your movements, so you can physically interact with the games. Perhaps play some table tennis, try boxing, dancing, Zumba, and much more. These allow you to utilize technology while moving and being active.

If you need help get started with any of these, grab someone who has used them before, usually someone from the younger generation. Or call a computer and IT services company like mine for assistance.

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