6 Free Tools to Help Families Stay Bonded

Only a few decades ago, the only ways to keep in touch with family members were letters, expensive long distance phone calls and personal visits. Now there are a wealth of options available online to help you remain bonded with your loved ones through text, voice and video. Here are some of the best and easiest to use free tools to communicate easily with family.



Facebook is easy to use for family communications, because probably most members already have an account. However, to avoid the hundreds of millions of Facebook users from prying into your private family affairs, you need to create a group account for your family. This is easy to do using the drop-down menu on the upper right side of your Facebook page. Use the privacy settings to limit access to your group. Once it is set up, you can post text messages, photos and videos to everyone at once.



Skype is one of the most popular video call services. All you need is an Internet connection to be able to communicate with far-flung family members. To use it, you simply need to download the software and create an account for yourself. Communicating computer-to-computer is free, but if you contact a landline or cell phone or set up group video calls, there is a small charge. Owned by Microsoft, Skype has hundreds of millions of users worldwide and is a great way for families to stay in touch.


Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a new messaging service that integrates Google Talks, Google+ Messenger and Google+ Hangouts. Unlike Skype, you do not need to download special software. To use Google Hangouts, you only need to have a Google+ account. Another advantage is that unlike Skype, with Google Hangouts you can do group calls with up to ten people for free, so the whole family can chat together.



Knctr.com is a service that allows you to make free phone calls from your computer from anywhere in the world to any landline or cell phone in the United States or Canada. All you need to do is download the Knctr app, have a Windows operating system and a microphone or headset attached to your computer. No matter where you are, as long as you have your laptop along, you can make free phone calls to your loved ones.



Viber is a free service that works across most mobile phone platforms to enable you to send free text messages, photos and videos. It synchs with any contacts that also have Viber on their phones. You can also use Viber on laptop or desktop computers. No registration is necessary. You just download the app and receive an access code that enables you to begin the service. With Viber, you can talk freely with any family members who have also downloaded the Viber app.



Touchnote allows you to send special greetings to your loved ones. First you download the free app which helps you create the card. Select whatever personal photo you want to appear on the card, add a short message, and the card is ready. Then Touchnote, for a small fee, prints out and sends the card to whomever you want. The photos on the cards are glossy and professional-looking as long as you select clear photographs.


With high-speed Internet and so many apps to assist you, it has never been so easy to keep in touch with family members, no matter how far away they are.