Distance can either make the heart grow fonder or make it wander, and communication plays a big role in the direction the heart chooses. Thanks to social networking sites and email, it’s easier to keep in touch with friends and family spread out around the world. However, those means of communication are lacking as there certainly is something to be said about hearing the sound of a loved one’s voice over the telephone while apart.
It’s no secret that communication is important for healthy relationships, and the Internet has revolutionized how we communicate and how we stay in touch. Thanks to the Internet we now have Internet phoning, or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). VoIP technology offers an innovative way to transfer voice data and media. VoIP systems direct voice and video calls over the Internet instead of the traditional phone line, providing a much cheaper way of staying in touch.
According to Psychology Today, many people today have forgotten the real importance of in person conversations and direct phone calls. Too many people, they suggest, have started to depend on text messaging and email for their important conversations, but it is far too easy to make mistakes in typing to depend on texts and emails for our most important messages.
The article states that humans use lots of queues when communicating, and a mere 7% of our comprehension comes from the actual content of the message. This means that when we use texts for everything, we leave 100% of our understanding up to 7% of the whole message. A full 58% comes from body languages, while 35% comes from tone, pitch, and other vocal cues.
Consider the differences in the following: a text message that says “That made me smile”, and a voicemail in which your partner giggles when she speaks, or sighs with contentment as she says “That made me smile.”
When regular face-to-face talking just isn’t possible, it’s important to keep up with regular communication to the best of your ability.
Low International Calling Rates
VoIP providers are famous for lowering your phone bill, with some providers like Rebtel advertising up to 98% savings on international phone calls. Numerous VoIP companies allow you to add all the international phone numbers you want to call in your contact list, and then it will provide you with a local number to place these calls. You can save this number, and use it in the future to reach your friends and family.
So how cheap are we talking? Well all those landline calls to your grandpa living in London will cost you just $0.01/minute with certain VoIP providers. And all those late night calls to your girlfriend, who is studying abroad in China? Only around $0.29/minute. These rates are something to celebrate, as some traditional phone companies charge as much as $2.00 to $3.00/minute for international calling.
While you can use VoIP apps on your landline and regular cell phone, some also offers mobile VoIP apps for your smartphones, laptops, PCs, and tablets.
This mobile app feature is convenient because it allows you to connect and make an international phone call or text message anywhere that you have WiFi or 3G access. As for the tablet and PC, the mobile VoIP feature essentially turns these devices into telephones, with dialpads and calling options.
Cheap Text Messaging Rates
Different people communicate in different ways. If you’re an extrovert, you may be thrilled to get to use VoIP for cheap international and long distance calling, but maybe your partner, the introvert, would rather get a text message instead of frequent phone calls. VoIP companies have plans for that, too.
And in fact, sometimes a simple text message is more meaningful than a long telephone conversation. Especially for a generation that relies heavily on text messaging, some of our interpersonal relationships may be more dependent on texting than on talking. With various VoIP providers, you can send all the cutesy international texts you want, without racking up a fortune in charges.
Sending international text messages with a VoIP provider is much more affordable than sending them with a traditional wireless provider. For example, certain VoIP providers let you shoot an inspirational text to your homesick sister out in Japan for around $0.03/text, while a wireless provider such as AT&T charges $0.50 per text sent outside of the US.
According to a study conducted by North Carolina University’s Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences, positive emotional connections are necessary for healthy relationships, and a “positive emotional connection includes ‘having a partner who really talks to you, is a good listener, is a good friend, likes and appreciates you as a person, and does his or her share to make the relationship work.’” One great way to do your share to make the relationship work is to be proactive and set up a VoIP account before your leave for another country.
Rachel Greenberg is an editor and writer for various VoIP and tech publications in San Diego.