The feature, called Scheduled Pause, is hardly new: conventional routers from the likes of Linksys and Netgear have offered it pretty much since the dawn of home networking. But they are often buried in clumsy and hard-to-access router administration software. On the other hand, Google Wifi's ability to control which devices on your network have access to the internet at any given time is notable for its simplicity, which means people actually might use it.
Set up Scheduled Pause through the Google Wifi app; no passwords to enter or router administration URLs to remember. Each pause you create can have custom start and end times, and can be applied only certain devices on the network. The obvious benefit of this is that you could create a group that includes all the devices used by your kids, which could be switched off during dinner and between bedtime and wakeup.
But the ability to easily schedule internet downtime is also an exercise in willpower that could offer significant health benefits. There's a growing medical consensus that using a computer or other electronic device before bed can disrupt sleep patterns. So setting an internet cutoff for yourself of, say, 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. might help you be more well-rested.
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"The first night was a shock, but after a few nights I was ready to shut down earlier," Google Product Manager Edith Chao wrote of her experience trying pauses. "And I was more refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning."
Of course, in practice the easy-to-use nature of Google Wifi's Scheduled Pause feature might actually make it less suited to enforcing an internet blackout: even if you resist the temptation to open the app and temporarily unpause your phone, it's probably even easier to turn off your Wi-Fi antenna and escape the bounds of your home network by connecting to LTE.
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