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How to Set Up Web Video Chat

Video chatting over the Internet is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with your family and friends.

Instructions

  • Step 1: If you don't already have a webcam, you'll need to get one. A webcam for video chatting can be purchased for as little as $30 at a computer store or online.
  • Step 2: Find a good spot for your webcam on your computer or desk, making sure it has a full view of you, and that the background behind you isn't too cluttered.
  • Step 3: Install the webcam and drivers according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Step 4: There are many ways to video chat, from free web sites to specialized client software. Choose the one or two that most of your friends use.
  • Step 5: Most video chat web sites and software require you to sign up with an account. Select a username and password, and create your profile.
  • TIP: Many web sites let you create a video chat room that friends without an account can use.
  • Step 6: Test the speed of your internet connection to make sure it's fast enough for video chat. Most chat clients include instructions on how to do so.
  • Step 7: If your friends are using the same chat client, you should be able to tell when they're online. If they're available, ask one of them to start chatting!
  • TIP: Some chat software comes with special effects, which make you look like you're in far-flung locales.
  • Step 8: When you're done chatting, be sure to close any chat programs you've been using, and turn off your camera. This saves money on electricity and helps protect your privacy.
  • FACT: The first webcam, invented in 1991, was used to take pictures of a coffee pot.

You Will Need

  • A webcam
  • A computer
  • An Internet connection fast enough to transmit streaming video
  • Someone to chat with

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