Many teens multitask with media while doing their homework, and most of them think this has no effect on the quality of their work. Consider the stats:
- 51 percent of teens say they often or sometimes watch TV during homework.
- 50 percent often or sometimes use social media while doing homework.
- 60 percent often or sometimes text during homework.
- 76 percent often or sometimes listen to music during homework. (In fact, 50 percent of teens think listening to music helps their work vs. 6 percent who think it hurts.)
But, despite what kids think and do, frequently using several devices at a time affects the ability to focus. Productivity suffers when switching rapidly between different tasks because the brain has to re-focus every time it switches to a new activity. Over time, heavy multitaskers can also have trouble with face-to-face conversations.
If your kid is really having a tough time blocking out distractions and staying focused, you might need some technical assistance. If your kid’s school uses a 1-to-1 device program, ask the teacher if it comes with some time-management software or other controls that allow you to restrict access to non-homework-related sites. If your kid is using your home computer to do work, you might consider a parental-control program such as OpenDNS or KidsWatch that lets you separate homework from playtime.