How parents, children, siblings, cousins, close friends, grandparents and grandchildren use new technologies to remain closely connected despite distance, divorce, military assignment or longterm travel
I videoblogged my family's summer vacation out west. Not in real time -- that would be too much like work. But in the weeks since we returned from Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, I have re-lived the vacation and re-explored online some of the sites we saw. I've also published on my blog excerpts from my wife's journal and video clips of my son. I've educated friends and family about fantastic places, so that they are putting such places on their future vacation itineraries. I'm sure that video-blogging a vacation will become a cultural phenomenon.
Basic video-editing software like Windows Moviemaker comes free with most computers these days. It's pretty simple to use. Drag and drop photos and videos and music clips, push a button to snip or edit a clip. Judge for yourself my results. I'll get better at it as I use it more.
WUSA TV, Channel 9, in Washington, D.C. has broadcast a second report on virtual visitation in less than two months. The second video is a moving piece about one family's experience. Charles Mason III of Warrenton, Virginia and his 10-year-old daughter, Arielle, who lives in Colorado, are interviewed for this segment, along with David Levy of the Children's Rights Council. Mason says: “I can watch her grow. I can watch her change. I can watch her experiment with
her hair style,” he said. He can also help Arielle with her homework and even
play games. Arielle adds: "I'll tell you right now, the telephone is boring. And with the telephone you
can't see him. And with the computer it's more fun than just saying, hi, how's
your day been.”
Previously, when the station did a report on legislation in Virginia, I and Michael Vaughan of Takoma Park were interviewed. Here's the link for that clip. -- Jim Buie
I tried VLOG IT, a tool to easily create professional-looking video blogs in a matter of minutes. The format is a little cheesy, but there are other formats to choose from. (I originally posted the video clip here as part of the trial, but when the trial expired, so did the hosting of the clip.)
My friend Michael Vaughan of Takoma Park, MD, his son Alex, a student at St. Marys College, and I were featured in a two-minute story on "virtual parenting" by WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. The story was done because a bill encouraging the right to "virtual parenting" just died in the Virginia legislature for this session. The bill will be reintroduced next year, and my guess is that it will pass, as similar legislation has already passed in Utah and Wisconsin.
In June I participated in a workshop held by the Maine Bar Association on "Tools to Utilize in Difficult Divorce Cases." We set up a video-conference using Logitech webcams, MSN Messenger (clear, crisp picture) and Skype for audio, and plugged in a LCD projector to show the attorneys just how easy it can be. I was invited to speak about "virtual visitation" ("Internet parent-time" is another name for it) based on my decade of experience as a long-distance dad. Michael Gough has posted the audio from the session, along with our Powerpoint presentation, at:
The new medium of video blogging, or "vlogging" is mushrooming, "thanks to improved streaming video technology, faster Internet speeds, new Web sites that will host the video free of charge and new cellphones and other popular devices designed to play video," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Vlogs are essentially publicly accessible Web logs, known as blogs, where authors can post video as well as text entries, and viewers can give feedback."
Check out these vlogs mentioned in the Journal article: