Slang phrases come in and out of vogue for a variety of reasons, and in a hundred years from now, history and literature students will be agonising over the appearance of phrases like 'shielding', 'social distancing' and trying to decide whether going outside the home without a mask was bravado, carelessness or an act of courage. Until then, we find ourselves grappling with the real consequences of another of those phrases: trying to find our way to a sustainable and safe 'new normal'.People Need PeopleWe are torn, as sociable creatures, between wanting to be safe, shunning anyone outside our immediate family and staying as safe as possible, and needing the companionship, excitement and sociability that comes from spending time in the company of strangers. People need other people: it is often those who avoid the company of others who suffer mental health issues and can become depressed, while those who have active social lives tend to be happier and physically healthier.Safety Considerations FirstSadly, at the moment, it is not advisable to crowd into public places with strangers who may be infected with the COVID-19 virus, simply because the risk of catching the severe form is too great for most people to contemplate with any kind of equanimity. This has seen an enormous upsurge in online activities, from online quizzes and family gatherings to work-from-home office get-togethers and plenty of free courses for those interested in adding to their skills.A Wonderful Distraction!But one online offering has been in place for several years already, offering sociable chat and fun, the distraction of concentration and play, and – even better – the chance of perhaps winning a decent sum of money! Live casinos have long been tailored to offer a lot of the benefits of an in-person gambling experience: the lights, music, temptation to play, the soft voiced hosts guiding you to the game that will best suit your playing levels, and, of course, the other players.
Thanks to excellent graphics and speedy processors, it is perfectly possible to play a game – roulette, poker, spins – and enjoy real time chat with fellow players.Be Yourself – Or Not!Computer avatars can be chosen to look just like you – with perhaps a few pounds off, your teeth fixed and your nose just a little straighter, if you prefer – or you can style yourself into a complete stranger to enjoy completely anonymous interactions. Studies have shown that interacting with other people online in this way is almost as good as in person encounters when it comes to maintaining good mental health, staving off loneliness and providing a useful distraction from stressful lives.Of course, we all want life to go back to 'normal', to be able to meet up with friends, go to the pub and enjoy days out, meals and movies without fretting about how close people are standing and wondering what diseases they might be about to pass on to us. That day will arrive eventually, but until then, it is up to all of us to look after our communities by staying apart – physically at least.