Game websites have been tempting students for nearly as long as the internet has been around—and grownups are not immune to that temptation. Facebook games like Farmville and Words with Friends suck a great deal of productivity out of the workplace each day. Youtube beckons; email needs to be checked; and before you know it, an hour has gone out the window without anything actually being accomplished.
It is, however, twice as frustrating when it’s a virtual schooled child who is sneaking off to these websites (particularly game websites) when she is supposed to be engaged in her schoolwork. Thankfully, while you probably can’t prevent it, there are things you can do to ensure that more of the day is spent on schoolwork than playing games.
Block as many of them as you can. If there is one site that he seems to visit more often than all the others, find a blocking program that will enable you to prevent the computer from going to that site. Unfortunately, this will make it difficult when he is allowed a little bit of extra time to play on the game site. It will, however, prevent that site being used as a time waster.
Make a deal. Allow your child a certain amount of time—say, ten minutes—for each completed lesson. After all, you don’t focus for hour after hour without a break in between; and their brains are even less well-equipped to do so.
Check their internet history. If you know your child has been working on the computer for too long, check up on their internet history. Make sure that he or she knows what the consequences will be for visiting a game site when it’s schoolwork time—and stick to them.
Provide other types of “brain breaks” throughout the day. When it looks as though your child is struggling to pay attention, have him or her get up for a minute and stretch, dance, or take a walk around the house. When the activity is complete, it will be much easier to approach the assignment with a fresh outlook.
Keep the computer screen turned so that you can see it. Look over your child’s shoulder periodically even when you’re engaged in another activity. Make sure that you know what he or she is doing—it will make it much harder to sneak behind your back. If you have a family desktop computer, this should be common practice anyway; especially as children get older, it’s good to have the accountability associated with knowing Mom and Dad can see everything they do.