With school transitioning to an online format, and quarantine becoming a word we now hear or see every day, the idea of being “homesick” has definitely found a new meaning.
On Friday, March 20th, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti issued a “Safer at Home” order, which prohibits people from leaving their homes unless they have an emergency or an essential activity to attend to such as grocery shopping.
With the dangers of possible fines for those who do not comply along with becoming more susceptible to spreading this virus when in public, being in groups isn’t an option. Although we can’t be physically close to our friends, with advancing technology and media, there’s definitely more to do than tweet that we’re bored.
After trending on Twitter last week, the Google Extension Netflix Party was a big hit for those who wanted to watch movies and TV with their friends while being snug and isolated at home.
The free-to-add extension allows users to sync their Netflix accounts and watch simultaneously with their “party,” and even has a sidebar for users to send messages to each other while the show/movie plays. All you need is a Netflix account, the Netflix Party extension and a computer or laptop to watch on.
Alaina Wong, a college student and a new user to the extension, was introduced to Netflix Party by another friend and has used it to watch a comedy special and Korean drama with her friends.
“I like the fact that you can also see who pauses and plays the show and how you can chat and make comments on the side,” said Wong in a phone interview with The Point. “It’s super easy to use as well and you don’t have to worry if someone is at a different spot or not watching the show/movie you are.”
“It’s a good way for friends or family to watch something together without having to actually be together,” she said. “It’s perfect, especially as we’re in a pandemic right now where we aren’t supposed to leave our house.”
Mario Kart Tour
If you’re not interested in watching anything and craving more involved action, this may be the game for you. With so many video games to play on a multitude of platforms, having a phone can bring you one step closer to a competitive game with your friends all for the small price of waiting for the game to download.
In September 2019, Nintendo promised fans of the Mario Kart Tour app that multiplayer would be coming soon to the game. Just recently, that promise was fulfilled and players can now make groups with up to eight people and race against each other.
PLNU sophomore and MOCM major Joe Chao has been an avid player of the new Mario Kart Tour game and has anticipated the long-awaited multiplayer feature.
“Everyone was excited for multiplayer,” said Chao in a phone interview with The Point. “Part of the draw of video games for many, including myself, is this ability to connect with others, build community and develop relationships.”
While part of the fun is playing with friends, there is a nostalgic factor that also comes into play. “Mario Kart is something from my childhood,” he said. “It was cool to get to relive a tiny bit of that in a phone format.”
With Netflix Party, there’s something to watch. With Mario Kart Tour, there’s something to do. TikTok is definitely another option if you want a little taste of both. Taking inspiration from old and new social media outlets like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok itself has gone viral. TikTok user and college student Brittany Vuong was introduced through other social media and has slowly transitioned into making her own videos on the app.
“I started using TikTok because people would save the videos from the app and post them to Twitter,” said Vuong in a phone interview with The Point. “Those videos always became super popular and made me laugh a lot, so I just wanted to go straight to the source.”
Whether you’re a viewer or a creator, you’ve got plenty to see. From dances to quick and funny sketches all under a minute, time goes by with just a quick swipe or tap to watch another.
“A lot of people are using TikTok now because most of us are in social isolation,” she said. “It is a social media platform that allows people to be entertained as well as create.”
Whether you’re whipping to TikTok dances or whipping up a new recipe, try to stay sane, stay inside, don’t touch your face and most importantly wash your hands.
Written By: Christopher Chong