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Creative ways to host a virtual birthday party for kids

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creative ways to host a virtual birthday party for kids

Social distancing requirements amid the COVID-19 pandemic may have canceled kids’ birthday parties, but parents are finding new ways to take the celebrations online. While video chat apps like Zoom, Google Hangouts or FaceTime are an option for gathering kids together in the virtual space, there’s still the challenge of what to do once there. A few companies are working to solve this challenge for parents who are looking for ideas to make their child’s birthday special in the time of COVID-19.

Sky Zone

One business that’s been heavily impacted by government-mandated retail closures is Sky Zone, the indoor trampoline park that’s home to dozens of kids’ birthday parties per day. The company operates Sky Zone parks in more than 160 locations across the U.S. and Canada, mainly to franchisees, which have now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

To help give back to families who still want a party while staying at home, Sky Zone has shifted its current focus to virtual birthday parties. The move not only offers parents the benefit of the hassle-free party planning that a typical events space provides, it also gives Sky Zone a way to keep employees working during the business closures.

The party, however, is not a new source to replace the business’s lost revenue or a way to make payroll. Instead, Sky Zone is offering to host the party for free to parents for up to 10 guests. Parents will have the option to tip the party host at the end of the event to support Sky Zone team members.

To request a party, parents fill out an online form with their information, then wait to hear from the Sky Zone representative who will schedule the party and create a digital invitation with a link to join the party room. Parents forward the digital invite to their friends and family however they choose. Then, on the day of the event, everyone joins the virtual party, which is hosted via Zoom.

gallery image 1585780557 Virtual Bday 2The party itself is a 20 to 25-minute experience with the party host leading the kids through games and activities to get kids moving, like Simon Says, Dance Battles, Trivia and even teaching the kids a TikTok dance. They’ll also lead the group in singing Happy Birthday to the Guest of Honor while parents bring in the cake.

The offering was first launched on March 26, 2020 and already Sky Zone has hosted 30 parties and has more than 100 others scheduled.

The benefit of this party over a DIY group chat is that the staff hosting the party are already used to working with kids. Plus, it’s an easy way for overworked parents to get the party handled when they don’t have time to organize more time-consuming events, like a drive-by birthday parade, in-home scavenger hunt or the other alternative birthday party options some parents have turned to in this time of crisis.

Roblox

Another company venturing into the virtual party space is gaming platform Roblox .

Already a huge online hangout for kids in the pre-COVID-19 era, Roblox usage has been booming in recent weeks as kids stuck at home look for ways to socialize with both online and real-life friends in the virtual world. Today, Roblox claims more than 120 million monthly active users and is now No. 35 on App Annie’s 2020 ranking of the top 52 mobile game publishers by revenue.

The company says it was inspired by the stories of friends, family and classmates connecting on its platform during the pandemic, including those who were hosting in-game birthday parties.

Together, with its developer community, Roblox on Friday launched the new “Play Together” game sort, which makes it easier for players to find those games where you socialize with others — like visiting a virtual shopping mall, going camping or riding virtual water slides, for example. The games in the Play Together game sort also offer VIP servers for 10 Robux (10 cents). That allow users to play with family, friends, classmates and others they choose in a private virtual space — like a virtual birthday party.

To create a VIP server, you first visit the individual game’s page on Roblox, then click on the “Servers” tab and then the button “Create VIP Server.” Give your server a name, then invite others using the link provided. (Note that this is opting you into a subscription, so you’ll need to cancel it after the party ends — unless you want to retain the option to have private playspaces like this going forward.)

Screen Shot 2020 04 06 at 11.07.55 AM

If you can’t figure out this process, trust me that your child can show you the ropes here.

While Roblox is popular with both boys and girls alike, a private match on Fornite is an alternative for some parents. The majority of Fornite players (roughly 73%) are male, so this could be an option for non-coed parties, for instance.

Caribu

For younger children and toddlers whose virtual party may only involve gathering together extended family — like grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, for example — there’s Caribu.

The family-friendly video calling app helps little ones get over their awkwardness about chatting online by offering a variety of in-app activities. For birthday parties, Caribu’s paint and drawing feature could be a fun, mess-free activity. The app also includes other simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe, interactive word puzzles and word searches.

To help keep families connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, AT&T is sponsoring 60 days of free access and unlimited use of the Caribu app, which offers in-app subscriptions for its full content library, which includes kids’ e-books.

Houseparty

For tweens and teens, the group video chat app Houseparty is another option that works across mobile and desktop.

Houseparty has also seen significant growth due to coronavirus-related lockdowns and home quarantines, particularly in Europe. During the week of March 21, Houseparty downloads surged at 423 times the average weekly number of downloads in Q4 2019.

Screenshot Mac 2

What makes Houseparty an option for a virtual party experience is that it’s not just another way to group chat — friends can play online games in the chat, including Heads Up!, Trivia, Chips and Guac and Quick Draw. These are free to play, though there is an option to purchase more decks through in-app purchases for some games.

Evites with built-in video chat

Even if you do choose to go the DIY route to host a simple FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom or Skype video chat, there are ways to make the invite more special than just a text. For example, the digital invitations service Evite has updated its app and website to now allow party hosts to add a video chat link to their personalized invite.

The company is also beta testing its own Evite video chat, which is a more integrated option that allows up to eight guests to be able to join from a tab within the invite.

Screen Shot 2020 04 06 at 11.44.36 AM

Hobnob’s digital invites app has also updated to make it easier for friends to send invitations for online-only events through Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.

Personalized Zoom invites

Another option for Zoom users is the newly launched service ZmURL.

This free online tool lets you customize your Zoom video call invite URL with a title, explanation, image and RSVP requirement. This latter RSVP feature means that only those you’ve specifically invited via email will be able to access the provided link and join.

Customize Zoom Preview Link Image

Live streams

Some parents have turned to live-streaming as an option for virtual parties, like those offered by YouTube or Facebook.

While a Facebook Live stream may not have a party host like Sky Zone, or built-in options to play games like Caribu or Houseparty, it does offer an easy way to share a celebration happening at home with others. Though children won’t have their own Facebook account (hopefully!), parents can send out invites to the parents of the child’s friends or family members through a Facebook Group invite, for instance, or by posting a message about the virtual party on their own profile. Participants can then watch the stream together as the child opens gifts left on the porch (and wiped down) and celebrates at home with family.

While technology can help to facilitate these virtual events, parents can take extra steps to make a virtual party special. Some local businesses that used to send characters — like superheroes or Disney princesses — to kids’ birthday parties are now offering to record video messages or even join a virtual party the parent is hosting. Neighbors and friends can decorate the yard or leave chalk messages. Surprise balloon drops, car parades, scavenger hunts and other activities can make the party memorable for other reasons besides being the child’s first quarantine birthday.

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Facebook Faces Yet Another Outage: Platform Encounters Technical Issues Again

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Facebook Problem Again

Uppdated: It seems that today’s issues with Facebook haven’t affected as many users as the last time. A smaller group of people appears to be impacted this time around, which is a relief compared to the larger incident before. Nevertheless, it’s still frustrating for those affected, and hopefully, the issues will be resolved soon by the Facebook team.

Facebook had another problem today (March 20, 2024). According to Downdetector, a website that shows when other websites are not working, many people had trouble using Facebook.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has had issues. Just a little while ago, there was another problem that stopped people from using the site. Today, when people tried to use Facebook, it didn’t work like it should. People couldn’t see their friends’ posts, and sometimes the website wouldn’t even load.

Downdetector, which watches out for problems on websites, showed that lots of people were having trouble with Facebook. People from all over the world said they couldn’t use the site, and they were not happy about it.

When websites like Facebook have problems, it affects a lot of people. It’s not just about not being able to see posts or chat with friends. It can also impact businesses that use Facebook to reach customers.

Since Facebook owns Messenger and Instagram, the problems with Facebook also meant that people had trouble using these apps. It made the situation even more frustrating for many users, who rely on these apps to stay connected with others.

During this recent problem, one thing is obvious: the internet is always changing, and even big websites like Facebook can have problems. While people wait for Facebook to fix the issue, it shows us how easily things online can go wrong. It’s a good reminder that we should have backup plans for staying connected online, just in case something like this happens again.

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We asked ChatGPT what will be Google (GOOG) stock price for 2030

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We asked ChatGPT what will be Google (GOOG) stock price for 2030

Investors who have invested in Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) stock have reaped significant benefits from the company’s robust financial performance over the last five years. Google’s dominance in the online advertising market has been a key driver of the company’s consistent revenue growth and impressive profit margins.

In addition, Google has expanded its operations into related fields such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. These areas show great promise as future growth drivers, making them increasingly attractive to investors. Notably, Alphabet’s stock price has been rising due to investor interest in the company’s recent initiatives in the fast-developing field of artificial intelligence (AI), adding generative AI features to Gmail and Google Docs.

However, when it comes to predicting the future pricing of a corporation like Google, there are many factors to consider. With this in mind, Finbold turned to the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT to suggest a likely pricing range for GOOG stock by 2030. Although the tool was unable to give a definitive price range, it did note the following:

“Over the long term, Google has a track record of strong financial performance and has shown an ability to adapt to changing market conditions. As such, it’s reasonable to expect that Google’s stock price may continue to appreciate over time.”

GOOG stock price prediction

While attempting to estimate the price range of future transactions, it is essential to consider a variety of measures in addition to the AI chat tool, which includes deep learning algorithms and stock market experts.

Finbold collected forecasts provided by CoinPriceForecast, a finance prediction tool that utilizes machine self-learning technology, to anticipate Google stock price by the end of 2030 to compare with ChatGPT’s projection.

According to the most recent long-term estimate, which Finbold obtained on March 20, the price of Google will rise beyond $200 in 2030 and touch $247 by the end of the year, which would indicate a 141% gain from today to the end of the year.

2030 GOOG price prediction: Source: CoinPriceForecast

Google has been assigned a recommendation of ‘strong buy’ by the majority of analysts working on Wall Street for a more near-term time frame. Significantly, 36 analysts of the 48 have recommended a “strong buy,” while seven people have advocated a “buy.” The remaining five analysts had given a ‘hold’ rating.

1679313229 737 We asked ChatGPT what will be Google GOOG stock price
Wall Street GOOG 12-month price prediction: Source: TradingView

The average price projection for Alphabet stock over the last three months has been $125.32; this objective represents a 22.31% upside from its current price. It’s interesting to note that the maximum price forecast for the next year is $160, representing a gain of 56.16% from the stock’s current price of $102.46.

While the outlook for Google stock may be positive, it’s important to keep in mind that some potential challenges and risks could impact its performance, including competition from ChatGPT itself, which could affect Google’s price.


Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.

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This Apple Watch app brings ChatGPT to your wrist — here’s why you want it

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Apple Watch Series 8

ChatGPT feels like it is everywhere at the moment; the AI-powered tool is rapidly starting to feel like internet connected home devices where you are left wondering if your flower pot really needed Bluetooth. However, after hearing about a new Apple Watch app that brings ChatGPT to your favorite wrist computer, I’m actually convinced this one is worth checking out.

The new app is called watchGPT and as I tipped off already, it gives you access to ChatGPT from your Apple Watch. Now the $10,000 question (or more accurately the $3.99 question, as that is the one-time cost of the app) is why having ChatGPT on your wrist is remotely necessary, so let’s dive into what exactly the app can do.

What can watchGPT do?

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