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Poll: Majority of Americans Long for Pre-Internet, Pre-Cell Phone Era

The Nostalgia for Simpler Times

Remember the days when our modems could only handle a measly 14.4 Kbps of data? It may seem like a distant memory now, but back then, it was a big deal. The emergence of the “information superhighway” and its blazing fast 28.8 Kbps speeds was mind-blowing. Suddenly, downloading a photo only took a minute or two instead of an agonizing 10. It was truly amazing!

(By the way, if you want to take a trip down memory lane and hear the throwback modem hook-up sound, click here.)

Fast forward to today, and home routers can handle upwards of 2 gigabits per second (Gbps). You can download hundreds of pictures per minute without breaking a sweat. And to top it off, we now carry a computer in our hands that is more powerful than the ones used by America’s astronauts during their moon landing.

With all these advancements, you would think that we would be thrilled and eager for technology to continue its upward trajectory. But surprisingly, that’s not the case. It’s not just older folks who long for the old days; a new poll has found that 77% of middle-aged Americans between 35 and 54 years old want to return to a time before we were constantly “plugged in” to the internet and cell phones ruled our lives.

But it’s not just middle-agers. The Harris Poll revealed that 63% of people aged 18 to 34 years old also yearn for simpler times, even though they never experienced them. Surprisingly, fewer Baby Boomers want to go back, with 60% of people older than 55 saying they prefer the pre-internet era.

Overall, two-thirds (67%) of poll respondents expressed a preference for the past over the present, as reported by The Wrap here.

The poll also found that while 9 out of 10 people are open-minded about advancing technology, more than half admit to feeling overwhelmed by the constant onslaught. Furthermore, a majority believes that the advancement of high tech often creates division rather than unity.

The Temptation to Turn Back Time

There is merit to the desire to go back. Take the work-from-home phenomenon that exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s nice to be able to work from the comfort of our homes, constant connectivity has blurred the boundaries between work and personal life. The workday now starts as soon as we wake up and often extends well into the evening. We are always reachable, and there’s no escaping it.

In the old days of my newspaper career, I had to be physically present in the office. That’s where my computer terminal, set up with the paper’s specific code, and my phone were located. If someone wanted to reach me, they had to call me at the office. It may sound incredible to young people, but we didn’t routinely give out our home numbers. Our homes were sanctuaries away from work.

All of that has changed now. Bosses have no qualms about sending emails or texts at 9 p.m., expecting immediate responses. Lunch breaks have become a thing of the past. We now hastily devour sandwiches while tapping away on our computers. It feels like it never ends.

And let’s not forget the addiction to endlessly scrolling through our phones. I once bowled an incredible spare, only to turn around and find my buddies buried in their phones. It’s disheartening.

Maybe the younger generation will choose to disconnect voluntarily. As for me, I’m not on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. I rarely post on Twitter, and when I do, it’s strictly for work purposes. I call all those sites “Time Sucks” because anything else you do — literally anything — would be time better spent.

It’s no wonder that most of us yearn for the past. And just so you know, it only gets worse from here.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.



" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."

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