Young Chinese are a number of the most linked people on the earth, counting on their cellular phones for everything from ordering food to entertainment. We requested one SCMP technology reporter to attempt going 48 hours without the net.
The alarm on my cellphone become set for 8 am on Saturday; that’s rare these days as I stopped using my cellphone as a clock when I offered a smart speaker in the middle of the ultimate 12 months. Powered by synthetic intelligence, the smart speaker understands my verbal requests for a musical be-careful call.
But I am no longer allowed to use the clever speaker this weekend after accepting an assignment to live without internet get right of entry to for 2 days in Shenzhen, the era hub of China where hardly ever everyone isn’t always connected thru their cell phone or a laptop at home.
The telephone has become a crucial part of my frame, like with most educated people in China. I can neglect to carry loads of things; however, I no longer have my phone. It is in my hand or pocket at all times. Even at the same time as snoozing, the smartphone is within arm’s reach of my bed – charging to be prepared for tomorrow.
I even have come to be so depending on my telephone
That it pervades almost everything in existence, whether paying payments, calling for a journey, making restaurant reservations, or reserving tickets for films or live shows. I can stay domestic the complete day, order daily necessities online, and feature them introduced to the front door.
But the whole thing will trade for one weekend when my cell phone might be used best to make calls and send text messages, much like the primary function phone in my lifestyle – the Motorola V8088 – which dates again to 2001.
That manner, no WeChat or Alipay, no studying news apps or gambling games – no app usage in any respect because they may be all internet-primarily based offerings. It becomes going to be difficult because those apps occupy most of my waking time, whether or not I am operating or not.
Realizing the task might no longer be smooth,
I made a few preparations to higher continue to exist internet-free for 48 hours.
On Friday night, I submit a message on my WeChat moment – something much like a Facebook message that is only available to my WeChat friends – pronouncing I will no longer be able to reply to any WeChat messages at some point of the weekend. I also called my dad and mom, telling them I might be doing the no-internet task and may be reached through my smartphone over the weekend.
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I also download more than 30 episodes of my favorite TV collection to my iPad to make sure I have something to look at if I don’t have any higher plans.
In the week earlier than that, I set up numerous meetings with friends for Saturday and Sunday. They are privy to my participation in the mission and promise to touch me most effectively via cellphone.
With the arrangements in place, right here is what happened for the duration of my forty-eight hours without the net:
First thing on Saturday morning, I run to withdraw cash from the ATM. The amount of money in my pockets has no longer changed for numerous weeks as I hardly ever use cash any extra. Mobile fee services like WeChat Pay and Alipay are ordinary via nearly all shops in Shenzhen, and many young human beings have even stopped taking their wallets with them.
I ought to hail a taxi on the road. To get around, I took public shipping like buses and the metro using a stored-cost transportation card as I changed into forbidden to use apps to call for an experience. However, I do now not need to pay with cash and receive the exchange. Coins are too heavy to hold around, and I have not even seen them for a long time.
I gave up on the idea of looking at movies inside the theatre as I realized I couldn’t access the screening schedule without the net. If I go to the field office at once, I would possibly wait sometime earlier than the film starts offevolved. Plus, the stroll-in fee for cinemas is normally double mobile ticket-booking apps.
On Saturday afternoon, I played mahjong with three different buddies in Shenzhen. It is probably the best game that maintains each hand of the gamers too busy to touch their smartphones.
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I had dinner with pals on Saturday and Sunday night. I felt bored as I watched them take a look at their smartphones during the meal. But the coolest information changed into that each meal has been paid for using my pals the use of WeChat. I supplied to pay my share, but they did now not want to take coins.
I did not watch the TV series downloaded to my iPad as I decided
To come domestically late at some stage in the weekend to avoid the feeling that I had nothing to do at night. On ordinary evenings I might video chat with close friends and family, watch stay-streaming apps, play cell video games, and watch the playback of TV programmes – all of which require the internet and are prohibited during the weekend.
But still, ultimately, I failed the check as I had to check my WeChat a couple of instances at some stage in the weekend to touch buddies for the prearranged meeting as they did not have my phone variety. During the beyond two or three years, WeChat has essentially become the primary verbal exchange tool for people in China. We have stopped changing call cards or taking down cell phone numbers; instead, we test QR codes to add WeChat friends.
If my WeChat app ever crashes, I won’t also be capable of getting in touch with most of the people I have met in the past few years. What a frightening concept! But come Monday, I turned into capable of reconnecting to the net, something I do now not want to lose again.
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