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Most Americans Yearn for a Pre-Internet World

A new poll has found 77% of middle-aged Americans between 35 and 54 years old want to return to a time before society was always “plugged in,” a time before the always-on internet and cell phones in our pockets ruled our lives.

But it wasn’t just middle-agers. The poll also found 63% of people aged 18 to 34 years old also want to go back to simpler times—even though most of them never experienced those days. Weirdly, fewer Baby Boomers want to go back, with 60% of people older than 55 saying they want to return to pre-internet days. Overall, two-thirds (67%) of poll respondents said “they’d prefer things as they used to be versus as they are now.”

There’s merit to the desire to go back. Take the work-from-home phenomenon that exploded as the world sunk into the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure, it’s nice to be home, but with the advent of constant connectivity, the work day often starts shortly after you wake up and ends well into the evening. In between, everyone can reach you at all times.

All that is over. Bosses have no qualms about sending workers an email or text at 9 p.m. asking for something to be done immediately. And forget those hourlong lunches (what we called a “lunch break”—and we did it daily, taking off from noon to 1 p.m. to relax and recharge). Now, we slam down a sandwich while tapping away on our computers. It never ends. Makes sense most of us want to go back.

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