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Computer Use & Off Task Behavior


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My sons need the computer for a large portion of their schoolwork...they type almost everything (plus two classes are online, plus their other classes involve links and such for them to follow.)  However, I can't seem to keep either one on task while on the computer.  They have two accounts (one for school and one for fun).  The school account has restrictions to try and help, but it hasn't proved that helpful.  9/10 times I check on them they are off-task!  One child is SERIOUSLY behind in multiple subjects (to the point we may be looking at ANOTHER extra year....he repeated 8th, and now it looks like he's only going to finish 3 of 6 classes this year.  He's planning to start dual enrollment next year, but I'm thinking of telling him forget it!)  He was doing SO well at the beginning of the year that I kind of left him alone....I shouldn't have, and now trying to go back and add supervision he's fighting me tooth and nail (he says he's getting his work done, which is simply UNTRUE.)   I don't know what else to do!   How do you keep a child on-task on the computer (especially while teaching younger siblings?)

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Is the off task behavior web based?  You can block certain websites during certain  hours using a program like Leechblock or Chrome Nanny.  

 

Some of it is web-based, some is Blender (3D art modeling program) that I have tried to block unsuccessfully (for younger teen).  We have AVG Family Safety, and I've blocked a lot, but some of it is used at times for schoolwork (including Blender)

 

As far as typing, I'd disconnect the computer from the internet if the off-task behavior is web-based. 

 

I like this option!  There is a lot of work that he needs the web for (like online classwork), but we could set hours where this would be allowed...or do it in another account.

 

Are computers in public areas where you can see the screens?

Do you check their work on a weekly, daily or more frequent basis?

 

In our home there have been serious loses of Internet and computer access for goofing around on the computer.

 

Yes, all computers are next to me, and I have screen monitoring software.  I have not been checking in with the oldest much at all (like every 3 weeks) other than getting weekly reports from online teachers.  I think this is part of the problem.   And...we have taken 15min electronics (fun) privileges for every time I find them off-task, but apparently this isn't enough!!  Maybe I should take the whole days' electronics!  Or more?

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We have had issues a couple of times. What worked as a consequence for us was to be drastic. If a son shows that he isn't trustworthy on the computer then he isn't on the computer unsupervised. Papers are handwritten first then typed up. Online classes are done with me sitting next to them. There is no fun computer time. The privilege of computer time is added back gradually and with a lot of monitoring.

 

If/when they are behind in work, I may have to put myself on report for not supervising enough. We're they in a school I would be asking daily if they had homework. If my lack of diligence leads to their being behind then I have a responsibility to help them get caught up.

 

I think daily isn't too often to check in with most teen boys.

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We have had issues a couple of times. What worked as a consequence for us was to be drastic. If a son shows that he isn't trustworthy on the computer then he isn't on the computer unsupervised. Papers are handwritten first then typed up. Online classes are done with me sitting next to them. There is no fun computer time. The privilege of computer time is added back gradually and with a lot of monitoring.

 

If/when they are behind in work, I may have to put myself on report for not supervising enough. We're they in a school I would be asking daily if they had homework. If my lack of diligence leads to their being behind then I have a responsibility to help them get caught up.

 

I think daily isn't too often to check in with most teen boys.

 

Thank you for the suggestions.  I am implementing them.  My kids will come home from their activity tonight to a notice on the whiteboard of new rules.  My eldest and I will sit down tonight and plan out his catch up plan.  He's going away to work at a camp this summer....he can take some math with him, but everything else he's going to have to just buckle down and get done!!

 

Is Blender installed on multiple computers? Perhaps it could be uninstalled on all but one that you are able to monitor more frequently.

 

Actually, I think Blender is only installed on the one computer!!  I monitor them all the same, but it would sure be less convenient if it was on another child's computer!  That means I would have to allow him on!  Great suggestion!

 

ETA:  My hubby reminded me that computer has a special computer part that enables him to do 3D rendering.  It is the only computer that supports that. :(

 

EATA:  BUT....maybe I could have him do school on a different computer! :)    Still a great suggestion!!!

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Thanks all.  Today was a very good day! :)  Apparently they are CAPABLE of staying on task!  And amazingly...they can get through everything when they stay on task. Eldest has been rescheduled so that he can complete everything by the end of the school year, and all is not lost!  Thanks so much!

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One thing I have to guard against is rewarding hard work with more assignments. I try to reward hard work and getting done with free time to pursue interests.

 

That doesn't mean carte blanche on the XBox. It does mean free reading, tinkering and programming.

 

So don't forget the carrot part.  And remember you get what you inspect, not what you expect.

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