I have two teens in my home again, and I love it! My two international students are diligent students, and quite put to shame most American kids I’ve known. That got me thinking about how I would help distractible teens stay focused with all the competition for attention from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, texting, etc.
First, I’d probably have them park their phones in an attractive basked or pretty box on the kitchen counter during a regular (set in stone) “study time.” Then I would make use of technology to get control of technology! It didn’t take me long to find some great helps for students who procrastinate (I had one of those) and who are so social (I had one of those too) that they find it hard to disconnect long enough to focus on their studies. One I found is called StayFocusd. This add-on works with Chrome (a browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer), and allows you to limit the amount of time you let yourself be on certain websites you choose. For instance, if your child is tempted to check out Facebook constantly, set a time limit. Once it’s up…that’s it for the day. Self-Control for Macs lets you set a timer blocking sites for a prescribed amount of time (while you do what you’re supposed to be doing). Self Control for Study is an Android phone app that does similar things. Finish is an anti-procrastination app designed by two 16-year-olds. It would be best to help your older teens learn how to use these tools themselves, so it’s not just another restriction imposed by mom or dad.