14 July 2007

Virtual Families and Friends.com

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virtualfamilies
On Virtual Families and Friends.com, parents, children, siblings, cousins, close friends, grandparents and grandchildren share experiences of virtually visiting, how they use new technologies to remain closely connected despite distance, divorce, military assignment or longterm travel.

“The Internet, including low-cost audio and video conferencing, can now break down the barriers that separate you from loved ones. Welcome to our new blog, which focuses on the experience of virtual visiting — how to maintain close relationships despite distance, divorce, military assignments, work demands, grandparents living far from grandchildren, or other obstacles. We explore how new technologies are changing family life. We also examine the legal issues involved in virtual visitation.”

Some examples:

“Lily Yulianti writes: “My husband once managed to babysit our 8-year-old son from his apartment in Orebro, Sweden. By using skype and a Web-cam, he “babysat” our son in Tokyo, more than 5,000 km away from him. On that day, our babysitter was sick, and I was on the way home from the office. Fortunately we managed to set up the emergency virtual babysitting method for 45 minutes, while I was trying to get home. The virtual babysitting worked pretty well and on that day I felt that we had solved a serious parenting issue in an emergency situation thanks to the Internet!”

“Ana Sanchez Lobo and her husband, Ramon Lobo, communicate regularly through a Web cam link. They haven’t seen each other since January 2005, National Public Radio reports in a story on family members who wish to join the one million foreigners who immigrate to the U.S. each year. “This Filipino family has endured two generations of separation to come to America…”

“Every Sunday evening, Michael Gough used to spend an hour or two with his daughter, Saige, who lives with his ex-wife. They played hide-and-seek. Mr. Gough read her bedtime stories. Saige showed him the first tooth she lost and the haircut she gave herself. All this despite the fact that the two were living more than 1,000 miles apart.”

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