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I turned off my phone for a day and it was the best decision I made in 2020

Mountain Lake
Mountain Lake (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

My wife likes to say that I am the internet. I work over the internet all day, I play games over the internet, and I look to the internet when it's time to settle in and watch a movie or a show. I guess she's right.

2020 has been hell for everyone.

But these past six months have been hell. Not just for me, but for everyone. Being cooped up inside or trying to stay six feet away from anything on two legs is stressful enough, but once you run out of things to do, you end up spending more and more time on your phone or at the computer. My wife and I decided that enough was enough and we needed to get away.

This past Wednesday, I borrowed a friend's boat and drove up to the top of a mountain where, at the end of the overgrown Jeep trail, was a big lake. We loaded up with a cooler filled with sandwiches and cheap beer (my wife was the designated driver that day) along with a bunch of fishing tackle, but no phones because there is absolutely zero cell service where I was. Also, lots of beer, a small boat, and a phone is not a good combo unless you're a scuba diver.

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central

I didn't catch any fish worth mentioning, but it was the best day I've had in recent memory. Being away from the internet was a big part of that. It was like having OnePlus' Zen Mode on the entire time.

The internet is great, don't get me wrong. You can learn anything, read anything, or watch anything. It's also great for working, especially right now while a lot of folks are still working and schooling from home over their iPads or Chromebooks. But that's the good half of the internet.

The internet has two sides and the bad can overwhelm the good.

There is another half of the internet where people argue about politicians, or argue about headphones, or argue about phones. And that's not the worst of it, as I'm sure everyone reading knows. This half of the internet is not a good place, nor a fun place, nor a place to learn anything except bad behavior. I hate it. Even worse, I hate that I sometimes participate in it.

Since that side of the internet is never going to change (maybe it shouldn't, if people enjoy it) a day away from it was, well, amazing. Having a day off in the middle of the week was awesome, but not having to see random crapola on social media while looking at the Android news or sorting out spam in my email was even more awesome. As a bonus, no service means no robocalls from Team Trump, which are hitting my area hard right now. Don't rush to the comments — Team Biden robocalls would be just as bad.

Pixelbook and Pixel Phone

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

I know I make my living on the back of tech, most of which is connected to the internet. Without a connected lifestyle, I'd be doing something else that I probably wouldn't love doing. But I'm saying everyone needs a break from it all.

I love having the internet at my fingertips, but I loved being without it for a day, too.

I choose to live that connected life as well as work in it, so I do appreciate how the internet has grown and the great things that exist because of it. I love using an Android phone to read my news, talk to my family, or watch fail videos on YouTube. I am really glad to have something as great as the internet at my fingertips.

But man, getting away from it and living like some sort of non-connected caveman — even for just one day — was a good way to kick out all of the cobwebs and enjoy the simple things in life like family, cheap beer, and fishing. I plan to do it more often, and I'd suggest everyone give it a try at least once.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

10 Comments
  • I've been doing this at least once a week for the last few years. Mentally I need it, and so do my eyes.
  • Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks are my two favorite local spots in large part for the reasons you mentioned, Jerry. I also don't use any social media so I generally don't need to do much internet detoxing.
  • I don't use social media at all, apart from You Tube... Just ordered a Huawei P40 Pro as I mainly use my phone for business and taking photos while hiking...
  • I do my best to unplug at least a couple of times a month. But in general my device is not even important to me on daily basis. I were to forget it at home its like oh well i'll see it later.
  • I do social media at most twice a year, but since I work remotely, I HAVE to be connected for work. Then, when work is done, I am usually online to read the news, do random fact research to learn new things, or relax with an e-book or some streaming music. Still, those days when I don't turn on my laptop AT ALL and either do something simple like yard work or just laze around with only an e-reader--those days are truly precious and a great way to kind of detox. I agree 100% with Jerry--for those of us who are always "connected," it would definitely be a good thing to plan to get off the internet regularly [thumbs up]
  • I have seriously cut down my screen time. I used to casually post some things for family on FB. I dumped FB in late June, dumped my Twitter last month and have quit Google News which usually is a yes person to my thoughts or just trying to trigger me. I have seriously cut back on tech sites and even posting in forums such as this. And this was before we watched the Social Dilemma as a family. Its been refreshing. I am exercising more, paying a lot more attention to my loved ones and my overall view on all things is so much better. Too much tech is horrible for all.
  • Here's a protip for better social interaction: next time someone wants to show you a video on his phone, tell him "I don't want to see it, instead, tell me about it." Get phones OUT of your social interactions, deal with people directly. This includes not looking something up while talking, when you want say, "I don't know, hey I'll just look it up!" Imagine instead continuing with "I don't know / I can't remember".
  • I don't do social media so I don't need the break. It's 4:30 on Sunday and I've only glanced at my $h!Tbox.
  • I'm doing 'social distancing' from social media, and it's the best thing!
    Don't agree? Try it!
  • I wish I could do that with my computer.