Family, Kids & Relationships

Set Up a Playdate or Meet-Up Using Zoom

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As parents, we’re all navigating this new world of virtual school and playdates that take places over video chats. We hope this guide to Zoom, which we’ve found to be the most stable and easy-to-use platform, is helpful for families. For tips on how to make these first playdates successful, see our guide. We also have a how-to guide for using Google Hangouts for these meet-ups.

On Desktop

First, you’ll need to create a free Zoom account. You’ll be limited to meetings of 40 minutes or less with the free plan. 

  • Once you’re logged in, you can click on “My Account” (top right), and then “Meetings”, and “Schedule a Meeting”. Uncheck the “Require a password” checkbox, name your meeting, and select a date and time. Click “Save” at the bottom. 
  • Once you’ve saved your meeting, you can copy the meeting link and information by clicking “Copy the invitation” on the right. Send it to friends, or add it to a calendar invitation.

The URL will look something like this: 

  • There will also be a phone number that people can use to join if they can’t use video. 
  • If you’d like to start your meeting earlier, you can always use the “Start this meeting” button. 
  • When you click on your meeting link, a Zoom app will automatically start to be installed on your desktop. You may see a dialog window like this:
  • Select “Open” You will also be asked if you want to use Computer audio or join the call with the phone number provided for the meeting. 
  • Once your meeting has started, the interface looks like this:
  • Toggle between “Gallery View” (which shows everyone) and “Speaker View” (which shows the person speaking in a bigger part of the window) using the button on the top right of the screen.
  • “Mute” and “Unmute” your microphone, and start and stop your video using the two buttons on the bottom left. 
  • Use the “Chat” feature to share short text comments with the group. 
  • If you are the host, you will see “Manage Participants” instead of “Participants,” and you have the option to mute or unmute all of the people in the meeting (very useful with a group of kids!). 

On an iPhone/iPad

  • Download the Zoom app and sign in to your account. 
  • To start a meeting on the fly, select “New Meeting.” Once you’re in the video interface, you can select “Participants” and then “Invite,” which allows you to copy the URL or send a message or email, or invite contacts on your phone. 
  • To schedule a meeting, select “Schedule.”
  • Enter your meeting details, and turn off the “required meeting password” to make things easier. You will be prompted to add the event to your calendar — click “Add” to do so. 
  • To share the meeting details, click “Meetings” in the bottom menu, and then “Add Invitees”
  • You’ll need to enable the microphone and your camera for the app to join the call. 
  • Use “Call using Internet Audio” when prompted. 
  • Once your call has started, you can turn on your microphone by clicking “Join Audio” at the bottom left, and turn your video on and off by clicking video button next to it. 

On an Android Device

  • Download the Zoom app and sign in to your account. 
  • To start a meeting on the fly, select “Meet & Chat” and “Start Meeting,” which allows you to copy the URL or send a message or email, or invite contacts on your phone.
  • To schedule a meeting, select “Schedule” and follow the steps. Turn off the “required meeting password” to make things easier.  You can also view Zoom’s Getting Started with Android.

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Cindy has worked in various media roles and is currently Senior Director of Product Management for ParentsTogether. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and son.