Using Parental Controls To Manage Smartphone Distractions

contributed by Jenn Smith

Smartphones accompanying students to the classrooms is not an unusual sight.

After all, the two seem to have become inseparable. That isn’t really such a bad thing, with researchers suggesting that technology can actually contribute to a positive learning environment. However, an excess of anything is bad, and smartphones are no exception to this.

Despite their potential to facilitate students in learning, their excessive usage ends up doing the exact opposite. Students are often so lost in what’s happening on their smartphone screens that they stop paying attention to the ongoing lessons or activities in the classroom. This is a serious problem, one that needs to be addressed and resolved comprehensively. Half-baked measures won’t quite cut it.

Fortunately, a strategy tailor-made for this kind of situation already exists. All it requires is a proper implementation to keep smartphones from becoming a hindrance to learning and successfully maintaining an effective learning environment.

Using Parental Controls To Manage Smartphone Distractions

When facing a technological problem, it’s always a technological solution that works best. Therefore, when dealing with the issue of smartphones keeping students distracted in classroom, the best way to tackle the situation is by seeking help from parental control solutions like SecureTeen. By installing a parental control app on students’ smartphones, teachers or the school management can remotely block access to all apps and features that may cause a distraction. This includes chat apps, games, picture and video gallery, and even the phone and SMS app.

That is not all. Parental control apps make it possible to even block websites that can cause students’ mind to wander. This includes everything from entertainment and social websites to websites that are known to be popular among children and adolescent for non-academic reasons. While this would not completely cut off their link to the internet, it would restrict their online access to the productive sections of the web only.

With distractions blocked on smartphones, one can safely expect students to stay attentive in the classroom instead of letting their mind drift elsewhere.

Teaching Students the Importance of Finding a Balance

While blocking apps and restricting internet access on students’ smartphones can be a step in the right direction, it can quickly lose its effectiveness if not backed by additional measures. The most important of these measures is to make students understand the importance of keeping their mobile devices in their pockets and minds on the lessons in classrooms. They need to be made aware of the fact that failing to take a break from digital distractions can deprive them of invaluable knowledge being imparted by teachers, a loss that might eventually get in their way as they try to get into a good college or secure a great job opportunity.

Students often struggle to strike a balance between learning and smartphones because they are made to choose between the two. There is no need to put them in such a difficult situation. Instead, they should be given an advice on how they can socialize and play games without letting these digital activities get in the way of learning. A few lessons on time-management might do the trick. Upon making students realize how their smartphone use may be hurting their chances to become successful in the future, it can become a whole lot easier to manage their screen-time by blocking distracting apps and websites on their smartphones.

Extending the Efforts for Effective Learning to Home

Efforts made by teachers and the school management can become futile if they don’t get the necessary support from parents of students. The campaign to keep digital distractions from getting in the way of learning needs to be extended to homes, with parents taking the responsibility to ensure that their kids maintain the balance between screen time and studies. Parental controls may be used to block apps and websites on the smartphones during study time instead of peeking over the shoulders of kids constantly to make sure the latter aren’t disrupting the balance.

Furthermore, parents should sit down with their kids and give them a lecture similar to the one that was given in school to help the latter realize the importance of remaining attentive in class and putting away their digital devices. They need to be told that multi-tasking, i.e. using smartphones and learning simultaneously, may not be impossible, but it can put a lot of unnecessary strain on the mind, causing it to become exhausted faster and reducing its efficiency.