good ideas

There Should Be No Internet for One Weekend Per Month

Photo: Wodicka/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

Here is an idea from my colleague Emily Sundberg’s brilliant grandmother, suggested to Sundberg via telephone and communicated with respect and honor on the-cut-dot-com by me, Kelly Conaboy: They should turn off the internet for one weekend per month.

It’s not a lot to ask: no internet for one weekend per month. One weekend per month without email; one weekend per month without Twitter; one weekend per month without Slack on your phone; one weekend per month without access to iMessage; one weekend per month without Google Maps, which I do understand will be difficult, as will be … hospital … related things that have to do with online, of which I’m sure there are some. But I think we can figure it out, at Emily Sundberg’s grandmother’s request.

Yes, okay, already you see the main question. Who is “they” in terms of “they should turn off the internet for one weekend per month”? Hm. Everyone who could possibly be in charge of this decision at this point in time is motivated by hate and absolute absorption or power, and would use the Internet-Free Weekend (IFW) to their nefarious advantage. I guess we would have to create some sort of a benevolent Godlike figure to be in charge of this, if possible. Or maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? I think I’d trust her. Okay, yes, it’s decided — the person in charge of IFW is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She would need to figure out how to, you know, do it, but I have faith in her abilities.

Yes, there would need to be exceptions. The internet-related things hospitals need, or whatever, like I mentioned, would have to remain online. I personally do not know anything about professions other than the profession “online writer,” but I’m sure there will be a team assembled to figure out the details of IFW to figure out who and what still needs internet in order to make sure nothing collapses, and that people who need internet for health-related reasons still have access. It would be flexible, as well as strict. It would be perfect.

The weekends would be chosen at random, maybe through a lottery numbers-type scenario with the weekends written on balls in a lottery-ball drum tumbler, but they would be chosen one year in advance, so you would be able to plan around them. This is to create a more peaceful society, not a more chaotic one. It wouldn’t be like “Surprise Thanksgiving,” though that is another good idea that you can read about at the Awl. You’d know when it was coming.

Of course, you could perform an internet-free weekend by yourself at any time. But the beauty of a nation- or worldwide IFW is that everyone would be on the same page. No nagging thoughts of what is going on online, no lingering worries about whether your boss is trying to contact you. Everyone is in it together, and everyone understands. It’s the IFW, and we love it. Everyone returns to the internet on Monday, refreshed.

As we ease into this summer weekend, take some time to roll the idea around in your mind. No internet for two days every month. Time with family or friends; time with your significant other or your significant others; time alone or with your dog, free from that which hangs over our heads at all times in the air like magic: the web. Not a bad idea, in my opinion. Soothing and necessary. A balm for our time. Simply a good idea, for now.

Thank you, Emily Sundberg’s grandmother and eventually, fingers crossed, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

There Should Be No Internet for One Weekend Per Month