I have been a Skype user for a long time now, keeping in contact with friends and family living in the U.S and abroad. One of my family members lives in Spain, and having Skype to at least instant message or chat while on different time zones has been great. Email only does so much, but Skype is better. While instant messaging with Skype helps keep me closely connected with family and friends who don’t live nearby, instant messaging on Skype isn’t enough for me anymore.
I’ve known about webcams for Skype but hadn’t taken the time to learn how to use Skype with a webcam, and I needed to find out more about choosing a good webcam to use with Skype. I’ve heard there is a way to use a digital camera with Skype too, but using Skype on my home computer with a webcam is all that matters to me at this point.
What is Skype?
Skype’s free downloadable software allows you to talk, instant message and make video calls to other Skype users for FREE. Skype uses your broadband internet connection to make unlimited free voice and video calls over the internet through your computer. You can also call phones and mobile cell phones and send text messages at very cheap rates – a lot cheaper than typical long distance/international plans.
The “Skype Out” features allows users to make cheap international calls with Skype to phones and mobile cell phones at a mere fraction of the cost of current international rates, and this is one of my favorite features since it allows me to call Spain for mere pennies. When my dad was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma awhile back, calls were made from Spain to check on my dad’s health status and the total cost was just a few cents.
Why use Skype and Webcams for Skype?
Webcam dangers are a reality in this crazy world we live in, but there are some benefits to using a webcam that is hooked up and connected with Skype that I can’t pass up. There are many good, valid reasons to use a webcam, whether it is for business or personal use. Some people choose to use webcams to keep an eye on what is going on at their house while they are away. Military personnel stay closely connected with their husband, wife and/or children while they are working far away, perhaps overseas.
Others like to watch what their pets are doing in the backyard, and what problems or chaos the dog is creating back there. Some use webcams to watch their children at school, daycare or in the care of babysitters in their home. Grandparents can use webcams to see their grown children and grandchildren who live far away and stay connected via video conferencing, which is my primary reason for deciding to buy a webcam to use with Skype.
Who should get Skype?
Anyone interested in staying connected with family and friends who don’t live nearby should download Skype. If you are wondering why you should get a webcam to use with Skype, especially if you are grandparent with grandchildren who live far away, understand that there are many advantages to using webcams to stay connected with family and friends. Having a webcam set up with Skype allows me to see my children and grandchildren on live video, and where they can also see Grandma and Grandpa talking to them too.
I’ve heard of some grandparents who use a webcam with Skype to read story books to their grandchildren, and grandparents are able to see their grandchild’s school report card and help with homework, amongst many other wonderful possibilities. My two grandkids are still too young to read children’s books to via webcam, but having the ability to see my grandchildren grow and learn how to talk (and say Grandma, Grandpa, Nana or Papa) makes for some fun times on Skype.
What is the Best Webcam for Skype?
One of the best things about being on Facebook is the ability to get suggestions and recommendations from friends and family on any given product, and that includes our search for a new smartphone as well as finding the best webcam to buy to use with Skype. Webcam prices vary, and while we certainly wanted a good quality webcam with clear imagery, we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the webcam.
Thanks to some great advice from Shayne at GrandparentsTLC, we were able to narrow down the webcam choices to a great quality webcam with built-in microphone that is very inexpensive and works extremely well with Skype. Since we weren’t knowledgeable about the differences between the more expensive webcams versus the cheap webcams (and how well the cheaper webcams would work), Shayne’s suggestions were a big help.
It would never have crossed my mind that there are different webcams to choose from depending on if you are a Mac user versus a Windows PC like we use. Since I’ve never used a Mac computer yet, despite knowing how popular they are, I didn’t need to find a compatible webcam for Mac but I was able to tell a friend of mine about those since she is a Mac user.
If you are looking for a webcam to use with Skype, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a webcam. The Macally IceCam webcam we bought is inexpensive, and it only took a few minutes to install and hook up the webcam to the computer and have it running perfectly with Skype. We didn’t have any problems getting the webcam to work right, and after testing the webcam on Skype a couple of times, our webcam was set and ready to video conference and chat on Skype with the kids, grandkids, friends and family that use Skype.
Aside from the Blackberry smartphones we recently bought, buying the webcam to use with Skype for the benefit of staying closely connected with the kids and grandchildren was money well spent. Every computer-user grandparent should get Skype and get a webcam to use with Skype, in my opinion. Money very well spent.