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To ask if life was simpler before the internet?

(67 Posts)
moutonfou Thu 25-May-17 00:46:48

I was a child before the internet, but had it from being a late teen/adult. I've always looked back on my childhood and felt that life was simpler, but always presumed that was just because I was a kid with no responsibilities.

However I went to an interesting talk on stress recently which talked about how each of the interactions we have in a day places a microstress on us - we have to weigh up what it is, whether it poses a threat to us, what to do with the information, etc.

They said before the internet, these interactions would almost exclusively be with people in your immediate environment, save for say, reading the paper or watching the TV news.

However the internet has multiplied our interactions exponentially, meaning we're spending all day processing information, weighing up threats, placing microstress after microstress on us which builds up. These 'threats' can be as small as say, a bad news story, someone showing off on Facebook, an email with an unclear tone, etc.

This resonated with me massively. Thinking back to even the 1990s, there seemed to be a simplicity and degree of solitude which has gone now.

What are your thoughts?

AngeloMysterioso Thu 25-May-17 01:12:00

Definitely agree. I can't imagine what hell my adolescence would have been like with social media thrown into the mix- having msn messenger was bad enough!

CreamCheez Thu 25-May-17 01:19:52

Really, I was about 35 before I started using the Internet / social media. Life was simpler, before Smartphones.
Jennifer Aniston recently said that a Friends reunion wouldn't happen. Not because they can't get the six of them, but because she reckons that a bunch of friends meeting in a cafe to chat is an alien concept nowadays.
The thing I hate the most is Gmail. The pressure of getting emails any time / any place. There's no freedom from it... Or just lying in bed of a Sunday morning, thinking. Without feeling compelled to pick up my phone!

peaceout Thu 25-May-17 01:23:47

it was way more boring back then
if you want simple why stop at pre internet?
The stone age was real straightforward, all you had to worry about was basic survival

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 01:28:25

Yes, I'm really glad social media wasn't around when I was a teenager.

I will say though, that if you have a disability, the Internet has also opened so many doors to resources, people, and some very cool apps.

There are online libraries where you can listen to audiobooks if you're blind or visually impaired, there are apps that can identify colors, scan documents and read it for you, And apps with volunteers who you can talk to and get help if you were a living independently. There are also apps that help people who can't speak to communicate and a wide range of other things that have changed peoples lives mostly for the better.

I use my Facebook page and YouTube channel to raise awareness and share information that will be useful to a lot of people.

We have Skype classes in languages, so people in developing countries who can't access paid tuition can still learn. There are so many good ways to use The Internet.

peaceout Thu 25-May-17 01:44:26

internet is a utility, I'd no sooner go without it than I'd go without running water or electricity, both of which can be put to harmful or beneficent ends

HildaOg Thu 25-May-17 02:06:43

I think the free flow of information is amazing but there are three downsides; social media which has destroyed the concept of privacy and discretion...

And political extremism. Nowadays people don't listen to any viewpoint they disagree with. They expose themselves only to what they believe and people who agree with them. So you have people who could live in the same street but they may as well be on different planets because their outlook on the world is so narrow and unexposed in completely different directions.

People are also becoming less personable and more socially awkward as many younger people don't practice any social skills in real life. They live in virtual reality, that's where their social life is.

shitgibbon Thu 25-May-17 04:11:01

I miss mobile phone, internet, etc-free days so much. Life was not necessarily simpler then, but it was a lot less stressful and there were a lot fewer expectations. I hate the expectation that I am always immediately available.

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 04:16:01

Gibbon go to Uganda and stay at a local hotel. The power sometimes goes off for 13 hours or more, unless there is the football game and the generator gets turned on. Great solution to ditching the Internet on your phone. Just make sure there is somewhere good to eat nearby! And bring bug spray . grin

sugarbeep9 Thu 25-May-17 04:30:22

not really.. it depends on what you use it for. I think that social media is the problem not the internet itself.
it's a lot simpler finding out information and booking/ordering/banking than doing them in person.

diodati Thu 25-May-17 04:34:11

I certainly read a lot more before the Internet, but it would have been so much easier to study and do research for school and uni if it had existed back then. Also, I can keep in touch with friends and family on the other side of the planet without having to pay a fortune in phone bills. I miss receiving hand-written letters and even writing them, though.

Life without MN - how would we cope?grin

BuckinghamLass Thu 25-May-17 04:34:49

it was way more boring back then

...and boredom fosters imagination and creativity, there are plenty of studies backing that up. Nowadays if you're bored you can stare at a screen. Look around at everyone waiting for a bus or in a waiting room - everyone staring at their phones.

I personally love the internet but I think that aspect of it is really depressing.

GnomeDePlume Thu 25-May-17 04:57:48

But when you are staring at a screen you are looking at something. Thinking about changing something: go and look on the internet to get some inspiration. 'I wonder what X would look like'.

I use the internet constantly to fuel my daydreaming.

Social media doesnt have to be a curse. Here I am in the early hours musing about something. If it wasnt for you I would be on my own with just the dog and the cat for company.

AceholeRimmer Thu 25-May-17 06:27:17

Definitely simpler! I had msn/myspace as a teen but glad I missed all the instagram phase. I built up to having a presence all over the place in my 20s, regular postings.. then two years ago I started going the opposite way as I was sick of it all.. now I'm not on anything and I'm much happier for it. Life does feel simpler again. I don't feel judged, insecure, pressure to be interesting, compare my life. Can't seem to break the mumsnet habit though.. grinblush

AceholeRimmer Thu 25-May-17 06:30:18

Forgot to add, as well as mumsnet I'm still always browsing and reading info, I feel the internet has taught me so much. It's just my online public presence I've removed. I love how it has opened the world up for many people who would have been lonely otherwise. It's done a lot of good.

londonrach Thu 25-May-17 06:32:54

Agree!!! I love it when i forget my phone which i do regularly. Not that it matters as its no internet access. I feel for the teenagers now

Flippetydip Thu 25-May-17 06:32:57

Definitely simpler and I agree boredom foster creativity and imagination. I don't think we let our children be bored enough let alone ourselves.

I am also sincerely glad that social media was not around when I was a teen. The pressure these days is horrendous. I fear for my own children when they reach that age.

Tanith Thu 25-May-17 06:43:04

I, too, think you may mean social media rather than the internet. It's social media, and particularly smart phones, that is the new development: internet has been around for decades.

exLtEveDallas Thu 25-May-17 06:43:56

I think I am far more 'educated' since the Internet. I don't mean schooling/exams. I am the sort of person that is always thinking "I wonder why..." Prior to the Internet I would think it, then move on to the next thing. Now I think it, reasearch it, learn about it and sometimes get involved in it (politics etc). News stories as they happen, background information on important events, even the ability to google people and see what makes them 'tick'.

Life probably was simpler, but it was far more ignorant.

And actually, thinking some more, it's been better for DD. Little things like finding sports teams/training, recreational days, craft ideas, learning how to do X (YouTube always seems to have at least one video), even cooking/meal planning can be done at the press of a button. Yes there is the added pressure of sites like Instagram etc, but they can be handled and even used as a tool to teach.

I think it would have been hardest to be a teen as the Internet exploded, when people weren't as savvy and hadn't been burned. These days we learn from their mistakes and hopefully won't make our own.

EmilyAlice Thu 25-May-17 06:45:11

I live in a different country from my children and grandchildren. I simply can't imagine how much I would lose if I couldn't skype / Facetime with them. Our grandchildren contact us all the time for help with homework and projects.
YouTube is an amazing resource for finding out how to do stuff (hedge laying here at the moment).
Social media great for support networks, keeping in touch and engaging in debate.
The problem comes with misuse and an inability to detach from sources that are harmful.
I see the pressures from snapchat / instagram on my eldest grandchildren, but I also see the support my children are giving them to deal with it in a sensible and robust way.
I don't accept for one minute that life was more "boring" before the internet. Change inevitably brings positives and negatives; it is learning how to manage it that is important.

pallasathena Thu 25-May-17 07:00:38

I remember signing up for dial up when the internet became available and standing open mouthed in horror reading the first telephone bill that arrived a few months after being connected.
That was a shock!
And I remember my teen aged kids downloading music, researching projects for their GCSE's and A Levels and marvelling as a whole new world opened up for them and for me.
Its the greatest invention of the Twentieth Century.
Interestingly, almost everyone I know who signed up for the dial up early on has left or minimised their social media presence in recent years because they found it boring.

AugustCarrot Thu 25-May-17 07:08:07

I think it was simpler, yes.

I also feel that smart phones have really tipped it as we have them with us 24/7.

EmilyAlice Thu 25-May-17 07:08:33

I remember doing a school project in the eighties to connect secondary schools with partner schools in France using TTNS (The Times Network System) . It was grindingly slow and we frequently had to ring up to get everyone standing by at the right moment. 😀
I don't think it was harder to protect children then, the stuff available online was all much simpler. The technology was harder though.

Only1scoop Thu 25-May-17 07:17:04


Sometimes I crave pre Internet. I remember my boyfriend who was a soldier walking 4 miles from camp with a pocket full of 10 p's to call me. Actual letters we used to write each other. Having to research holiday destinations on actual maps. I feel everyone talked more. I feel everything is so easy come easy go these days. Maybe I just have a romantic memory of those days. We made more effort.

UrsulaPandress Thu 25-May-17 07:20:13

Hell yes. I waste so much bloody time faffing around on t'internet when I would in the past have been reading a book.

My dd doesn't need to go out to see her mates. They are with her constantly via Snapchat.

But I suppose it's the future.

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