The emotional stages of mastering the video call

Let it be known that nothing will make you feel more ancient, or more out of touch, than attempting to video call your adult children.

While they breezily log on with no hassle, you’re having a meltdown about getting stuck in a virtual waiting room with no way to get out. It’s no surprise you need a glass of wine at your side to prepare you for the utter chaos that ensues during a family Zoom evening.

Corkscrews at the ready. Here are a few emotional stages of logging on.

1. Excitement

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You haven’t been together as a family in ages and you’re excited to catch up on everyone’s life news.

Sure, the last few times you’ve tried to Zoom the kids, there have been quite a few technical hiccups on your part, but you’re confident the days of aiming the camera at your chin and obnoxiously bellowing into the microphone are long gone.

2. Frustration

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Hmm, you know there’s a knack to getting into the chat but you can’t quite remember how to do it.

Do you need to click on a link in your emails? Or do you need to start up the software on your home screen? Gosh, you wish you’d taken notes last time you faffed this up.

Amidst the confusion, you can’t help but wonder what’s so bad about the good old-fashioned home telephone anyway.

3. Stress

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Right, you’ve managed to crack the enigma code by getting into the chat, and you were feeling pretty pleased with yourself too, but hold on … now you’re without video OR sound.

Your children are all shouting different instructions at you while you frantically look for buttons and tabs on your screen that just don’t seem to exist. You feel like you’re manning the desk at a nuclear power plant that’s going into meltdown, and no amount of expletives are solving the issue.

4. Exasperation

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As you mash the buttons on the keyboard and blame everyone but yourself, you can’t help but feel a burning ball of anger forming in your chest. You knew there was a reason why you hated computers.

5. Embarrassment

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Ah, one of your clicks seems to have switched on your microphone.

Your children have politely pointed out that you could have skipped the 20 minutes of fumbling around by simply changing your camera settings before joining the call – a fact they’ve apparently reminded you of several times.

You can’t help but roll your eyes. It’s not just you being old and out of touch; technology seriously has it in for you.

6. Despair

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Just as you were getting familiar with Zoom and its myriad testing features, one of the kids has mentioned migrating your next catch-up to something called ‘Google Hangouts’, because they use it for work and it’s much better.

You nod along through gritted teeth, wanting to slap the laptop shut and throw it out of the window.

You can only imagine the grief this next piece of technology will cause you, not to mention the hundreds of passive aggressive WhatsApp messages that will be fired between you and the kids when you ask for help.

“Duh, it’s basically self-explanatory,” they’ll moan, as you stare at a screen that looks a bit like The Matrix. Video calls are your pandemic enemy, and it looks like you will have to swim or sink.

Do you have the video call all figured out? Do you still prefer the home telephone?

– With PA

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Written by Liz Connor


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