Back when they were still in high school, gaming at a distance with the grandsons meant using Skype (audio only) so we could chat while playing. A few years ago, they introduced me to Discord and we used that instead because they used it gaming with their friends, and we found it more consistently reliable.
For my wife and me, since the pandemic quarantine began in March 2020, Discord has become a regular part of our lives. We tried Zoom a few times and used it when we had to for various purposes such as connecting with our financial advisors, but Discord quickly became the preferred app for our family for several reasons. All three grandkids were tired of Zoom because that was what they used in their school/college. Familiarity with Discord for all of them and me, as well as ease of set up and use, was also an important reason.
Our granddaughter set up a family server for us and added one of the grandsons as an administrator as a backup. We now use it for regular (currently twice weekly) video chats with any family members that show up at the appointed time. We enjoy Discord not only for the live chats, but also to see and post to the many channels we have included – pictures, thoughts, ideas, memes, articles, podcasts, etc. I’ve used the private message feature a few times, too.
We have created some sub-groups for gaming and even have a separate exclusive channel for coding that my son and I use. We all have used the video feature for special yoga sessions – my daughter is a certified yoga instructor – available again to any family members who wanted to participate that day.
Most of us use the free version only. Granddaughter has Nitro (paid version) because she likes to add her own art work, animations, etc. to modify her avatars. She is definitely a budding digital artist with a particular interest in anime.
For us as a family, it is a far better medium than Facebook or any other social media app.