Recently, parents of high school students said in a national survey that 64% of their kids complete more homework if they control internet access, rather than have the parents block access.
More than 4000 parents were surveyed by Webrate, the internet productivity tool. They found that because there is greater reliance on computers, it is easier for children to become distracted by the internet.
60% of the parents survyed worried that the internet distracted their children, and prevented them from finishing homework, unless there was a means to filter out the distracting websites or block the internet entirely when children did not need it for research.
Highlighting a cause of concern, the survey also found parents felt they had to give their children access to the internet on their home computer or a laptop in order for children to undertake research for their homework and then to complete it.
Yet 64% of respondents of the survey believed schoolchildren were more likely to turn off the internet or filter out websites that were distracting them if they, rather than parents, controlled the blocking software themselves.
The survey found that by encouraging their children to block and filter their own internet access they helped their children become self-disciplined and control their own use of the internet. It also helped build trust between parents and their children.
The survey found that 75% of respondents felt that the features on Webrate boosted productivity by giving children the ability to block the internet or filter websites or social media for a period of time themselves.
The survey also found that the software also increased productivity because it allowed children to write down a homework goal they had to achieve while they were offline or filtering social media sites. The software then allowed the children to award themselves a star rating for success to help them to chart their progress.
The survey found that 53% of parents said they confiscated smart phones and tablets while their children did their homework, but that they still needed access to the internet on the computer on which they were doing their homework.
If there was no way to block the internet or filter social media websites parents were concerned that distraction from the internet meant their children took longer to finish their homework. They were also worried about the quality of the work deteriorating.
Will Little, the creator of Webtrate, said: “The survey shows that the internet is both an aid and a distraction to homework. Most children now rely on the internet for research and for completing their homework. Yet many are being distracted by it so they either don’t do the work as well as they can or are taking longer over it,” he said.
“Parents also feel that using a parental control that blocks the internet when their children are doing their homework is breaking down trust in their relationship. They feel that they want to encourage their children to help themselves to block the internet for their own benefit rather than because their parents are telling them too. They believe that this will help them to develop more self control and better internet habits,” he said.
“Parents and children are turning to Webtrate because it is an accessible and easy-to-use software. Children are able to set how long they want to block the internet or a social networking site. They are also able to write down their work goals and give themselves a star rating to help them to chart their progress.
“The combination of features has become a big hit with parents and schoolchildren. And what’s more, it helps create a trusting relationship between parents and their children by encouraging children to develop healthy internet habits,” he said.