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Undesigning the Internet: An exploratory study of reducing everyday Internet connectivity

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Publication date10/05/2018
Host publicationICT4S2018. 5th International Conference on Information and Communication Technology for Sustainability
EditorsBirgit Penzenstadler, Steve Easterbrook, Colin Venters, Syed Istiaque Ahmed
Pages384-397
Number of pages14
Original languageEnglish
EventFifth International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S) - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 14/05/201818/05/2018
Conference number: 5TH
http://2018.ict4s.org/

Conference

ConferenceFifth International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S)
Abbreviated titleICT4S 2018
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period14/05/1818/05/18
Internet address

Publication series

NameEPiC Series in Computing
Volume52
ISSN (Print)2398-7340

Conference

ConferenceFifth International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S)
Abbreviated titleICT4S 2018
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period14/05/1818/05/18
Internet address

Abstract

Internet connectivity is seamlessly integrated into many of our everyday habits and activities. Despite this, previous research has highlighted that our rather excessive Internet use is not sustainable or even always socially beneficial. In this paper, we carried out an exploratory study on how Internet disconnection affects our everyday lives and whether such disconnection is even possible in today’s society. Through daily surveys, we captured what Internet use means for ten participants and how this varies when they are asked to disconnect by default, and re-connect only when their Internet use is deemed as necessary. From our study, we found that our participants could disconnect from the Internet for certain activities (particularly leisure focused), yet they developed adaptations in their lives to address the necessity of their Internet use. We elicit these adaptations into five themes that encompass how the participants did, or did not, use the Internet based on their necessities. Drawing on these five themes, we conclude with ways in which our study can inspire future research surrounding: Internet infrastructure limits; the promotion of slow values; Internet non-use; and the undesign of Internet services.