Yes, I procrastinate. I do it sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Usually it happens when I have to hand in an assignment or piece of homework, which is a little daft of me.
Whilst it does have something to do with a lack of motivation and plenty of online distractions out there – social media and games and whatever.
The common theme there is most likely the Internet. For as long as the Internet has offered students the potential for discovery, learning and wisdom, it has also offered us Facebook, Miniclip games and endless YouTube videos of cats. It’s almost like the Internet is trying to catch you out as soon as you log on. Of course, the more conservative of you could argue that that’s my problem and that I can’t blame the Internet. It’s like you blaming an airliner if you miss your flight. Painfully I guess I have to agree with the sentiment a little.
According to the BBC, an ‘Internet blocking service’ (whatever that’s meant to mean!) ran a survey of parents and their Internet habits when it comes to children and homework. What they found was the following:
- The overall conclusion is that parents can’t really stop their children from accessing the Internet in order to help get homework done. The simple reason? A lot of homework that needs to be done involves research – something that is of course easily available online.
- It seems that confiscating tablets and smart-phones don’t really help kids get on with work either – almost 2/3rds of parents reported that taking these things away to facilitate learning was ‘futile’. It would seem that there’s always one way to get around.
- What doesn’t surprise me is that 70% of parents feared that social media would distract from homework. Indeed, I always found it a bit of a distraction myself.
- The issue with all of these previous points is that there’s a relationship-type factor involved. One solution that everyone talks about is setting a filter to control what can and can’t be viewed. OK, fair enough, but these filters aren’t perfect and the Internet always seems to stay one step ahead. And that’s not the only issue…
56% of parents think that installing filtering software to help kids focussed on their work might put a strain on their relationship with their children.
OK, so it’s clear we have a problem here. We want to keep kids focussed but then again the main solution seems to be of concern to parents as they try and keep their relationship with their kids in order. I understand the difficult balance we have to keep here but I think the majority of parents do want the best for their children when it comes to education.
By logic, then, making sure that kids stay focussed on their work is very important and makes complete sense. The trouble is, if parents aren’t cool with using filtering software then what happens next?
Personally, my parents taught me how to stay focussed and motivated, not to mention the importance of doing the best I can in all of my school work. It never did me any harm and it certainly cut down on the amount of ‘time wasting’ that I got up to online – I had a set of goals that I wanted to achieve so it was never really an issue.
So is that really the solution – simply to teach kids self-discipline and how to get down to work in the best possible manner? Possibly, but then again everyone has different levels of motivation so a ‘one size fits all’ approach might not be work.
There are parents out there who take an active part in their kid’s homework and sit down and help – my parents were no exception if it was around their field of knowledge. Of course, you have to be careful to ensure that kids get the benefit of their homework – we’ve taken a look at this before here at Superprof when survey results showed that some parents admitted to doing too much of the set homework for children. Oops, bit counter-productive, wouldn’t you say?
A company called Webtrate commissioned the survey and Will Little – a member of the company – pointed out that some kids chose to filter out parts of the Internet to ensure that they got down to work, rather than simply having their parents do it for them. I find that pretty responsible of them but I do admit that not every kid is going to be willing to do that.
Does it come back to parents taking control of the Internet again? I’m concerned that it could well be the only way…
Look at it logically, though. I think if parents spent some time explaining the dangers of getting distracted on the Internet rather than setting up parental controls then it might bring about a change in attitude, rather than just imposing restrictions. I’m not saying kids should be patronised or anything, but having that conversation and explaining what the best study practices are might be of better benefit.
I guess if you’re rather open and willing to experiment a bit you could sit down and go though what your kids were really up to when they said they were studying. I wouldn’t get angry at them or anything, but let them make their minds up about how efficient they were. It might open everyone’s eyes a bit.
Talking to your children about how they feel they’re doing when they don’t have a choice but to study and stay focussed – it might mean spending some time with a filter on the computer but it might show your kids what happens. If they’ve then got the choice to make the change themselves then everyone’s learnt something. All the better, eh?
Personally I wouldn’t impose a full-time filter on my kids (if I was a parent) – I think it’s about attitude and how you go about studying that makes the biggest difference. Talk to your kids and try and be liberal and let them make their own decisions.
Seriously, give it a go. It worked for me.