Ask the Experts

Screen Gems for Getting Homework Done

“My 15-year-old gets sucked into distracting things on the Web when she turns on the computer. This is bad. She does her homework on the computer, too. Help!”

This is a problem not just for your 15-year-old, but for adults who spend a good portion of the day in front of a screen. Here are suggestions for you and your daughter:

> Give her the power. Try to get her to see the problem in the same way that you do. If you can partner with her instead of dictating to her, she’s more likely to make good choices. Try using a timer app, like 30/30, which she can set for a specified time before leaving her homework to explore the Web. If her phone is a distraction, activate airplane mode to prevent any notifications.

> Designate a browser. Designate one browser for doing homework (with only homework bookmarks on the toolbar), and one for recreational use. Then install an add-on (StayFocusd or LeechBlock) and set it to allow access only to specific homework sites.

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> Control as a last resort. Setting limits works best when it’s a cooperative effort. If you can’t get her to cooperate, you will have to monitor her time. Move the computer out of the bedroom and install an app, like Screen Time, on her tablet or phone, which will set time limits on her devices.