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Six ways to socialise online in the comfort of your own home during COVID-19

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Stay close to friends while being physically apart with Animal Crossing, social media and more.

Bad news for you social butterflies out there. To curb the growing spread of COVID-19 in Singapore, non-essential gatherings outside of school and work are now limited to 10 people.

Not to mention, many favourite hangout spots like karaoke hubs and cinemas are closed too.

But don't panic just yet; the Internet still exists!

Here's a list of things you can do to stay connected with your friends while practising safe distancing.

1. Play Remote Insensitivity online

If you're into not-so-wholesome and raunchy fun, Remote Insensitivity, a free version of popular controversial card game Cards Against Humanity, is available online.

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You can invite up to five friends to play this party game and "make horrible statements" for free! 
IMAGE CREDIT: SCREENSHOT OF PLAYINGCARDS.IO

Simply go to Playingcards.io and share the invite link with your friends after starting a game of Remote Insensitivity. The rules of the game are simple: complete the fill-in-the-blank cards with your best or worst response card to make the most outrageous statement.

So gather your friends around the virtual card table and get cracking at finding your funniest response card!

2. Play free games on messaging apps

If you have an iPhone, you probably already have GamePigeon downloaded.

The iMessage extension can keep you and a friend entertained for hours with plenty of two-player games like Cup Pong and Mini Golf.

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There are many fun and nostalgic games to choose from on GamePigeon.
IMAGE CREDIT: SCREENSHOT OF GAMEPIGEON

If you don't want to leave out your Android friends, other messaging apps like Telegram, where the group limit is 200,000 (who has that many friends, really?), have bots that act as moderators while you play.

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Add the 'Quizarium bot' into your group chat and start testing your trivia knowledge.
IMAGE CREDIT: SCREENSHOT OF QUIZARIUM BOT ON TELEGRAM

Add the Quizarium bot into your groups and find out who the smartest one is through quizzes. Plus, you can quickly send voice messages and short videos to exchange witty quips as you play.

3. Play Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch

As my friend who's obsessed with the game puts it, Animal Crossing is a social simulation game similar to The Sims, just "more Japanese and very cute".

The latest version, New Horizons, was released on Nintendo Switch on Mar 20, 2020.

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Express yourself through your character by dressing them how you would in real life.
PHOTO CREDIT: SETH HOO

You can spend hours customising your character and moulding your island to your liking.

You can even visit your friends' islands and send them mail and gifts by simply adding their game IDs!

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Interact with your friends by sharing game IDs and visiting each other.
PHOTO CREDIT: SETH HOO

With so many details to discover in the game, it's non-stop fun for friends who have Nintendo Switch consoles.

Older versions of Animal Crossing are also free for download on both the App Store and Google Play store, with in-app purchases.

4. Make and share your own version of Dalgona coffee

Have you seen this foamy coffee making its rounds on social media lately? With brown foam sitting atop iced milk, the drink has been featured on many users' stories under the Stay Home sticker on Instagram.

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This aesthetically-pleasing coffee takes less than five minutes to make.
PHOTO CREDIT: SONIA TAN

The three-ingredient Dalgona coffee, inspired by the South Korean toffee of the same name, has its own hashtag on Instagram with over 72,000 posts.

All you need to do is whisk equal amounts of sugar, hot water and instant coffee together until they foam up. Drop your mixture onto a glass of iced milk and you've got an Instagram-worthy cup of coffee!

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Use a hand whisk or an electric mixer to achieve the Dalgona foam.
PHOTO CREDIT: SONIA TAN

You can even 'localise' it by replacing instant coffee with Milo and adding ovalette to activate the foam. Or try making your own version of Dalgona coffee and exchange different recipes online.

5. Throw a virtual viewing party

If you're feeling down about the recent cinemas closures, organise a movie night and invite your friends to a virtual viewing party.

Created in 2016, Google Chrome extension Netflix Party synchronises the speed of video playback, allowing viewers to enjoy shows and movies together in real time.

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You can share your reactions through the chat box with your friends while watching your shows.
IMAGE CREDIT: SCREENSHOT OF NETFLIX PARTY

If you have a Netflix account, all you have to do is download the extension on your Google Chrome browser. Who says you can't 'Netflix and chill' while self-isolating

6. Duet on TikTok

Recently, singer-songwriter Lauv requested fans to collaborate on his upcoming music video through the duet function on TikTok.

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A Lauv fan dancing and lip-syncing alongside the singer through the duet function.
IMAGE CREDIT: SCREENSHOT OF @VANESHAKWAN'S TIKTOK

The duet function also enables users to record 15-second videos while sharing a split screen with another user's existing video.

You could even create a duet-ception by combining your video with duets your friends have already shared!

During this safe distancing period, let's try our best to stay home and remember that we're not alone.

If you're not up for these planned interactions, give your friends a Skype call to check in with them. You can even leave the app running as you each complete your own daily activities to have one another's company throughout the day.

BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: SETH HOO

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