I work with a lot of older fellas that are not interested in learning anymore about a computer than they have
to for work.
I understand this. I only know what helps me to do things like use my chart plotter or watch a movie on my offwatch.
I am no computer programmer.
But I can tell you that SKYPE or any other type of video conferencing on a computer helps with the home sickness and time away from loved ones. It is not the same as human touch but if you can see the other person’s face it helps you feel like you are there.

Military personell use various forms of video conferencing to talk to their families back home if their base if equiped with the internet to handle it or the USO or some one like AT&T sets up a “free call home” booth. You get like 5 minutes. Hard to plan that one in advance.

I need at least a 3G signal to use it. High speed at a hotel or someplace is much better but 3G offshore will get it done.

I get to see my kids grow by talking to them on the video chat as much as I can.
Skype has free international calling also. Voice only or voice and video.

All you need is a decent internet connection.

This app would mostly be good for coastal areas. most overseas ships limit your use of bandwidth if you get their internet.

Enough for emails only. no video. no pictures.

Anyway, skype rocks in my book.

You can go to and get the free download. Set up and account and add a $10 webcam to your dinosaur computer if you don’t already have one built in and start looking your loved ones in the face when you talk to them.

Free account.

An older fella I was working with didn’t care to learn about it until he saw me talking to my wife and kids while we were tied off for wx.

He was gonna get his laptop out and download the app to talk to his wife.

It helps me lesson the homesickness the first week or two back. Then I ease up around week 3. And week four I use it a few times. I can only use it when I am upstairs and standing by for something.

Nothing replaces human touch but it is nice to be able to see your loved ones face to face.

Good luck