Ditching the world of social media is one thing, but Hollywood actor and Netflix star Aziz Ansari has taken it one step further and deleted the Internet browser from his phone.
He argues the online sphere is not about information collecting and sharing, it’s “just about seeing a new thing”.
“You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things,” Mr Ansari said in an interview with GQ magazine.
The Hollywood star said he wondered how he would “look stuff up” but has since found most of the things he googled weren’t all that crucial.
“All those websites you read while you’re in a cab, you don’t need to look at any of that stuff. It’s better to just sit and be in your own head for a minute.” he explained.
“I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there’s a new thing and read a book instead.”
I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half.
So what really happens when you delete the Internet off your phone?
A recent study in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research suggests we could experience improved brain cognition.
It found a smartphone can reduce its user’s cognition simply by it sitting next to them, or even being anywhere in the same room with them.
It found few people knew about this cognitive effect, but it reduced someone’s working memory and problem-solving skills.
But giving up the World Wide Web can have negative consequences of its own.
A University of Maryland study of almost 1000 university students found they suffered cravings, anxiety attacks and depression when forced to abstain from the internet.
Professor Susan Moeller, who led the research, told The Telegraph respondents wanted to go without technology for a while, but worried they would be ostracised by their friends.
“Quite a number reported quite a difference in conversation in terms of quality and depth as a result,” Prof Moeller said.
Psychologist Jocelyn Brewer told The New Daily while it was nice for celebrities like Mr Ansari to quit the internet as a kind of “virtue”, for most people digital abstinence was not possible.
“You need to be a master of your technology use rather than be a servant to it,” Ms Brewer said.
Stefan Nekvapil of Moral Technologies, an initiative of Seed Australia that aims to bring discussion and awareness to the challenges of technology, told The New Daily “renouncing the Internet” was an important first step to analysing our relationship to technology.
“Roles models coming out and saying, ‘I’m stepping away from the Internet.’ make us all think about what role it plays in our life and give us the chance to critically engage with its effects,” Mr Nekvapil said.
He said any new technology, from the advent of the printing press to the online world of today, always creates a cultural crisis.
“We assume that it’s this big thing and that’s the way it is now, but Facebook and smartphones are only a decade old,” Mr Nekvapil said.
“We’re very much still learning and people removing themselves [from the Internet] is the first step of that learning.”