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One of the main benefits of technology is that it has allowed people to stay in touch. The Internet, cell phones and computers all make instant communication possible from anywhere in the world. Families should take advantage of this modern technology. We no longer have to wait days or weeks to send and return letters, here are five of the easiest ways to keep up with family instantly.

Create a Family Website
Social media networks can be very public places where family communications get lost. Families can stay in touch by creating a personal website that everyone can use. Family members can use a login to add pictures to the site, to update announcements or to make private postings. The website can become a safe and private place for the entire family to communicate.

Video Conferencing
Video conferencing today requires only a webcam, a speaker, a microphone and a simple software application. Many modern laptops already have webcams, speakers and microphones built in. Video conferencing allows family members to communicate face to face regardless of location. Video conferencing is very personal and allows for natural real-time communication.

Get the Family Cell Phones
Giving all members of the family dedicated mobile phones will help everyone to stay in touch on a daily basis. Some plans allow for unlimited calling between family phones. Cell phones like the Blackberry Canada from Bell.ca will let family members send text messages and pictures as well. Connecting the entire family with dedicated cell phones under a single shared plan will make staying in contact much easier.

Instant Messaging On Computers
Families can install instant messaging programs on computers and laptops to make communicating simpler. Instant messaging programs can be set to activate when the computer is turned on. They can show which family members are currently online. They are a fast way to stay in contact throughout the day and send brief messages to loved ones.

Email Groups
A simple way for families to stay in touch is to start an email group. This is simply a list of all family emails under a single common name. Email groups allow a single person to send a message to everyone in the family. Similarly, any person in the group can reply to everyone else. This is a good way to make announcements or have family discussions in a private and controlled setting online.

The most important thing to consider is whether the technology is available to everyone in the family. Families should choose technologies that each person can use without difficulty. Cell phones and emails are both easy to use and most people already own them. Choosing easily accessible technologies will make staying in contact with family simpler.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to maintain family ties, especially over long distances.