Blue Star Mother Wendy Hoffman knows the frustration of not being able to talk to her son Dallas Hanson. "While he was deployed it was impossible to pick up the phone and stay in touch so the Internet became kinda our lifeline," says Hoffman.
You Tube searches and on line profiles took the place of a cell phone and instead of a ring tone it was the sound of instant messenger alerts.
Hoffman says, "I would log onto his profile on my space or his profile on face book and if he had updated it recently then I know he was OK.
Hoffman's son Dallas Hanson says of being away, "I tried every day to go get on the computer just so I could see what my family said or what my friends were doing and also being able to stay in touch with everybody."
Now a new website run by the military looks to help make one more lifeline between soldiers and there families. Its called Troop Tube.
Hoffman, who heard of the site before but didn't register for it at the time says, "I just signed up for troop tube and Dallas is going to be deployed again and I'm going to definitely make use of this."
For Hoffman its another tool to keep her connected with her son
just like when she used her web cam to bring the family together for Christmas.
Hanson says of the experience, "That meant a lot being able to open my presents and know that my mom was able to see me opening the presents and what not and to watch her open the stuff, like presents for my dog and for her and my step dad being able to see that like I was actually there with them meant a lot to me."
Hoffman says of sites like these, "It's like having all these extra windows that you can look out of to watch your kids."