What would life be like without the internet?

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Life without the internet is pretty hard to fathom. We use it for virtually everything in our lives, even for connecting with those around us. So, what would happen if the internet suddenly disappeared?

  • The internet is a big place. In fact, over 53% of people on the planet are actively using it.
  • Education is just one area that has been heavily improved by the internet and technology. Kids have more access to more education than ever before.
  • Although, as great as it is, the internet can also be the source of many problems. Facebook experienced a data mishap that will change social media forever.

You wake up every morning and start your routine which, for most of us, includes catching up on the news. Whether this is about your friends, celebrities, sports, or current events, it usually begins on your smartphone or your tablet. Even on your commute, you’ve got a podcast or internet radio station going. Once at work, you’re sending emails, video conferencing, researching, and sending a few texts to friends. And, unless you have excessive website blocks at your office, you’re probably also checking your social media profiles. Finally, you head home and zone out to some Netflix and have one last browse through social media before you’re off to sleep.

However, what would happen if the internet vanished? We’re not talking as if the internet was never created (thanks, Al Gore!). Imagine what life would be like without the internet. Like an episode right out of Black Mirror, this unwelcomed reality would certainly turn our world upside down. But, what would really happen if we weren’t so connected?

Life without the internet

Some purists might argue that having no internet would be the best thing to happen. They’re the same people who think it’s horrible and that all Millennials do is Instagram their entire day. They’re not entirely wrong; studies show that such incessant social media use can negatively impact our lives.

What would life be like without the internet?

It’d be much harder to stay connected

Cons of having no internet

Of course, it’s really easy to discuss how life would be miserable without the internet. It would be a lot harder to talk to your friends on a daily (or hourly) basis. But, it would take away a sense of community that, for many of us, is vital. This could be anything from fantasy sports leagues or even virtual mental health groups. As a result, we may be more disconnected than ever before. But, there are more cons than you can probably imagine. You’d have to go to a shop and buy a digital file in person to access new music beyond the radio. Possibly one of the biggest downsides would be the lack of dog photos in our lives.

Rest assured, even without the internet, people still don’t want to see a picture of your food.

What are the benefits of no internet?

On the other hand, being cut off from the internet might do wonders for our personal relationships. Because we wouldn’t have a screen to distract us, we’d start to live in the moment. Imagine heading out to a dinner with your mates and actually having a (gasp!) conversation. And, the conversation, although it still may be about gossip, would focus on the real world. There are plenty of benefits to a life without the internet but one, in particular, is worth noting: you’d get to truly interact with people. The benefits aren’t just about the time we spend awake. Our addiction to connected devices is ruining our sleep.

What would life be like without the internet?

We’d be reading a lot more offline

What would change if we didn’t have the internet?

  • News: The way we take in news and information has been impressively quick thanks to the internet. Without it, we’d rely on TV programs, newspapers (yes, actual newspapers), and, worst of all, word of mouth. If you think politics in the US have been wacky lately, imagine it with even fewer sources of information and no way to verify their credibility. We imagine politics would take a surprising turn, although we’re not really sure which direction that would be.
  • Health: The long-running joke is to never use WebMD for your symptoms, otherwise you’ll end up thinking you have five types of cancer and the plague. However, having access to an online directory of symptoms has certainly helped millions. With such platforms, we can self-diagnose with a degree of accuracy. This saves us time and money on health-related costs. Without it, there would be a lot more and possibly unnecessary trips to the doctor. Even still, medical professionals now rely on a connected network to pass along patient data and research conditions. Having no internet would slow this process down for sure.
What would life be like without the internet?

Say goodbye to 1-click purchases

  • Work: Working without the internet seems like an impossible task. Whether you have an international team or simply advertise locally, the internet has a profound effect on our productivity. Without it, we’d rely a lot more on spoken word of mouth, advertising in print and on TV, and take days to complete even the smallest tasks. Additionally, global commerce would be impressively slow and tedious, if not impossible for some brands. On the whole, scaling as we do in the current market would be all but unattainable.
  • Commerce: Likewise, our shopping experiences would become drastically limited. In regards to fashion, trends would slow as it would take longer to spread new styles. From there, it would be very difficult for global sales and innovation would suffer. Imagine technology without crowdfunding campaigns (that’s not a world we want to live in).
What would life be like without the internet?

You’ll have an all-new social life

  • Finances: When USAA first advertised their app-based check deposits in 2009, everyone was ready for it. Likewise, even having an app to show all of our finances in one place is certainly something we take for granted. In life-without-internet-land, you’d be back to a standard check book and calling your bank to find out your balance. It also means paying bills would take much longer, as banks would also be less connected.
  • Social life: Hanging out with friends would go back to the methods of yesteryear. You’d need to send letters to far-away friends or probably get back to paying high rates for long distance calls. Want to make plans? You’d better hope your friends remember the event date. However, we would rely on in-person interactions which would encourage us to get out and see each other more often.
What would life be like without the internet social media

Big brother would have a harder time watching

  • General information: Gone would be the days of Google Maps (or even MapQuest, for that matter). Researching for a school paper or a project at work would require a library card and some serious effort. Unless we archive the entire internet and hit print before it goes AWOL, we’d also lose a lot of access to information, never to be seen again. Ultimately, our society would suffer from this lack of knowledge.
  • Law and order: The internet has been an imperative tool to help law enforcement identify and arrest suspects. It’s also a powerful method to finding evidence. Having no internet would certainly take cybercrime off the table, but it would leave a gaping hole for all new crime. Knowing the limits of CCTV where there’s no cloud or digital locks or alarm systems, criminals would be more likely to commit more crimes. At least initially, our society would experience a large spike in crime before new methods could take the place of current systems.

Have we lost all hope?

We don’t think so. The internet contains everything we could possibly know. There isn’t another version of the internet. While we may depend on the internet in a seemingly unhealthy way, it hasn’t wiped out our civilization or our culture. Actually, the internet has very much become our civilization and our culture. In fact, in 2016, the term “memes” was searched more than “Jesus.”

For the eye-rollers, the internet has done wonderful things for society. From connecting people across the globe to helping students learn even more, it has countless positive sides. Just look at Gadget Flow. We’re a team of 25 people working in eight different countries. We span 16 different time zones. And we work in unison. It doesn’t take a well-choreographed routine to do so (although sometimes we think otherwise); all it takes is the internet.

How to cope without the internet

For some younger folks, life before the internet didn’t exist. Even for the older readers, it’s hard to imagine what we did to pass the time before the World Wide Web. In case we have a global internet blackout, or if you’re just trying to reconnect IRL, here are some products and devices that don’t require the internet:

  • KLOS Carbon Fiber Guitar: Looking to fill all of your internet-free spare time? Picking up and learning an instrument is one of the best things you can do. This guitar is lightweight and beautiful and even disassembles for storage.
  • Zen Blanket Luxury Weighted Blanket: Without all that social media and blue light in your face at night, drifting off to sleep will be easier. The Zen Blanket goes a step further to also help reduce your stress so you can sleep even better.
  • Bruu Motorized Beer Pong Robot: Just because the internet is gone doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of already-created technology. This robot keeps the party going IRL by adding an element of strategy to your favorite drinking game.
  • Mutable 2.0 Modular Children’s Play Table: For kids of all ages, this table promotes fun and play with an intuitive design. The table transforms however the kids need in order to maximize the way they play – all without screens.
  • 3M Post-it Extreme Notes: With no virtual walls to write on, you’ll find yourself sticking to the classic pen and paper. You can stick these just about anywhere and they can hold up to the elements.
  • Game Over Game Boy Alarm Clock: There’s no way to commemorate an internet-free world like throwing it back to the 90s. This alarm clock starts your day with a nostalgic theme tune of Super Mario.

Where do we go from here?

Suffice to say, it’s clear that the internet has bettered our lives. We can communicate with every corner of the globe and even maintain friendships that were previously impossible no matter how good of a pen pal you were. At Gadget Flow, we thrive on the internet and love all that it has done for innovation.

But, life is about balance. We have the internet at our disposal and we can use it, or not use it, for just about everything. However, we highly recommend signing off every now and then to connect with those, and the world, around you.

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Ashley Timms

Ashley Timms is the Editor in Chief at Gadget Flow where she gets to write about the most incredible products in the world. When she’s not writing, she’s producing fine art dog photography.

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