People are Starting to Get Nostalgic for Life Without Smartphones

Nostalgic computer with '90s background
Adobe Express

A photo of an early 2000s computer setup is going viral online and people have thoughts! The photo features a desktop computer complete with an organized desk, a printer, a keyboard, external speakers… the works. For millennials like myself, this image is extremely nostalgic. My parents had a similar setup and I recall the days I spent there, running home after school to make myself a snack while the dial-up Internet slowly loaded, then logging on to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) to see what my friends were up to in the hour since we left school.

The user who posted the viral image captioned it, “There was a time when we respected the computer,” and sparked hundreds of replies. People began to feel nostalgic for the days when the Internet was limited to a computer and younger Gen Z users are even feeling jealous that they didn’t grow up in a time before smartphones. Of course, smartphones and faster Internet have made a lot of things better but being so connected all the time has a lot of drawbacks too, mostly for our mental health.

One person noted that they missed when the Internet was “a single, solitary, unmoving place instead of a terror that extends to everywhere.” Others missed when they weren’t connected to an online world 24/7 and although the slow connectivity was annoying, it ultimately led to people getting back to their real lives faster.

Business woman Danni Ashe poses in her office August 30, 2000 in Culver City, CA. Ashe owns "Danni Hard Drive" and is the host of the most downloaded internet show "In bed with Danni."

The feeling of nostalgia brought on by a simple image of an old computer seems to be growing stronger. Just look at the Reddit community nosurf or search the hashtag #digitaldetox on just about any social media website. Tons of people are starting to realize that being online all the time isn’t making them any happier or healthier. Personally, I have been interested in this topic for many years and even asked my friends to do a digital detox for a college essay about 14 years ago when you might say that people weren’t even that addicted.

Japanese mobile operator DoCoMo introduces a new mobile phone named Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access (FOMA) October 3, 2001 in Tokyo

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

Some people are even going back to the “good ole days” by canceling their Internet altogether and trading in their smartphones for “dumb phones” or flip phones. I don’t think I could ever go back to the days of texting with T9 and I obviously need Internet for my work but I do see the benefits of dialing back being online 24/7. If it takes a little nostalgia to get you to unplug more often, I say go for it! Tell me in the comments, in terms of technology, what makes you feel nostalgic?

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