Technology has made it easy to stay in touch with your service member. Many deployed locations offer telephones for calling back to the United States, computers for email, and webcams for video chat. The following are some guidelines for using military video chat when separated from your service member.
First, the service member will be allowed time to email and video chat when operations permit. He or she may be off base, or engaged in planning or missions, for days or weeks at time, and won’t be able to access a computer. Also, such services are available to all service members in a location, so he/she will likely have to wait in line, and may not be able to access a computer even if he/she is on base and available to chat.
Second, a common method for ensuring everybody gets a chance to call home is to set a time limit on each service member’s conversation. Don’t be surprised if you can only chat for a short period of time.
Third, such services are public. Having an argument, or being excessively intimate, may cause the military authorities to cut off the conversation. It may also be embarrassing to you and your service member–the military (especially a deployed unit) is a small community and issues made public tend to be known by everybody.
Finally, remember that there is no expectation that a deployed service member will be available to talk. For serious emergencies, like a death in the family, a certain way to get the information to a service member is through the FRO or FRG, or through the Red Cross.