Turning Off The Internet

I have two daughters, and they are of the age where Internet access (or simply “the WiFi” as they call it) seems to them like a basic human need. Right down there on Maslow’s hierarchy, just before shelter, water and food. So imagine the trauma that I caused when I did a little investigation and discovered that our router had a cool little area for “access control” complete with custom scheduling.

I talked with my wife about my idea to turn off the Internet completely for a couple of hours each day (from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm). After discussion and slight revision (5:15 pm might be a better end time) the plan was approved and implemented. Then we waited.
It didn’t take long: I got a phone call about 3 minutes after the kids got home the next day.
“Dad, the WiFi isn’t working.”
“Yes, I know. I told you about that last night.”
“But you said the Internet wouldn’t work. You didn’t say the WiFi would be affected!”
After a quick lesson in terminology, and after a few minutes of complaining, the phone call was over. The discussions, however, were not. Over supper that evening our two daughters attempted to use every line of reasoning possible – including some very creative ones – but we weren’t budging. The Internet would stay dark every weekday from after school until 5:15 pm.
The Aftermath
After a few weeks I’m happy to say that my daughters have adjusted to the trauma and learned to use their WiFi-free time effectively. Now they are getting things like music practice and chores done right after school, instead of waiting too late and then being too tired and grumpy to get them done. Regardless of the fact that the motivation for completing these things isn’t coming from themselves internally, the things are getting done. We’re calling this one a small victory so far.
One of the arguments they tried to sway us with was “but we need WiFi in order to do our homework!” And it’s true – some of their homework just can’t be done during the dark times. However, if they were being honest with us, they would admit that they rarely jumped into doing their homework right after school anyway. Rest assured, the homework is still being completed.
Implementing This Yourself
If you have children that you feel may benefit from some scheduled “Internet-free” time, find out the brand and model of router that you have in your house, and then do some reading. Your router may also have a section named “access control” or “schedule”. If not, and you’re still keen on doing this, then perhaps your Internet Service Provider has an upgrade available for you.
Just be aware that those days that you get home early from work, your children will be laughing at you when you hop on the computer and wonder why it isn’t working.
About the author:
Todd Trann has been programming computers since 1983, and is a self-proclaimed geek and Dumb White Husband. He always makes sure that the Internet is working for his wife. You can find him on Twitter at @toddtrann.

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  • reply ceno byte ,

    It’s like you’re talking about my life.

    …you’re not…spying on me using the WiFi, are you?

    • reply Todd Trann ,

      Of course I am. And I’ve changed your WiFi SSID to “WE CAN HEAR YOU NEXT DOOR!”

    • reply Anonymous ,

      Plot twist: After getting a commitment from you that the Internet WOULD be on at 5:15, the daughters stay in the school computer lab for an hour and a half after school.

      • reply Todd Trann ,

        That would be agony – their school computer that I used last week took 20 MINUTES to boot and open a simple MS Word Document. Wish I were joking.

      • reply Anonymous ,

        The real answer is to replace your wifi with dial-up … and only you know the dial-up password. Worked in our place for 15 years

        • reply Todd Trann ,

          But then I’d have my mother-in-law mad at me because she was trying to call and the phone line was busy for 2.5 hours…wait a second, I see your genius now…

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