From rotary phones to writing letters: Over 60s reflect on life before the internet

Apr 23, 2023
Over 60s reflect on the positive and negative aspects of the digital revolution. Source: Getty Images.

The internet has dramatically transformed the way we live, work, and communicate with each other. But for those who were already adults before the rise of the digital age, life was very different.

Many people over the age of 60 can remember a time when the world was less connected, less instant, and less reliant on screens.

Curious as to the reflections over 60s regarding life before the internet, one Reddit user took to the online forum to ask, “How was your life without internet?”

The over 60s community contributed a wealth of fascinating responses, offering poignant insights and reflections on the bygone era of life before the internet.

One commenter reminisced about the simple joys of immersing oneself in a good book, long before the internet had pervaded every aspect of our daily lives.

“A lot more reading. I can read so many books when I don’t have the internet to browse instead,” they wrote.

Another over 60 shared that their life was considerably more prosperous in the pre-internet era, as the advent of the internet had a significant impact on their way of livelihood.

“Much more prosperous. Disclaimer: I was an encyclopedia salesman,” they explained.

Life was “just fine” before the internet for one commenter, who lamented the decline of “more personal interactions”.

“It might have taken longer to obtain information but the sources were more trustworthy. More personal interactions infused common courtesy and personal accountability which is harder to come by now,” they shared.

Source: Getty Images.

Another individual expressed a sense of relief that the internet was absent during their youth, citing the fact that there is no photographic evidence of their past antics.

“I didn’t know the difference but frankly I’m glad that cameras were not everywhere in my formative years because there is zero photographic proof of my shenanigans and I think we all can agree that it’s for the greater good,” they said.

For all the benefits that have come with the arrival of the internet, one user lamented the long-lost art of writing letters.

“I miss writing letters and receiving letters in the mail. Oh, to open the mailbox and see a letter from a friend was such a treat,” they said.

As we wrap up our exploration of life before the internet through the eyes of those over 60, it’s clear that there are both positive and negative aspects of the digital revolution.

While the internet has opened up incredible opportunities for communication, learning, and commerce, it has also created new forms of social isolation, addiction, and inequality.

As we continue to embrace new technologies, it’s important to keep in mind the perspectives of those who lived without them, and to ensure that we are using them in ways that enhance our lives and bring us closer together, rather than driving us apart.

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