If my kid needs to use the computer for school, how do I make sure he's not wasting time on other stuff?

Discuss your concerns with your kid and talk about ways to structure homework time that work for everyone. Consider asking your kids to write down assignments and have them check each off as they finish them. Talk about how it might seem possible to multitask and switch between socializing, entertainment, and homework easily, it actually makes it harder to complete work well and efficiently.

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 provides a laptop or tablet, 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 that lets you separate homework from playtime. You can also require your kid to do homework in a common space so you can keep an eye on them.

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Kid, 11 years old

1. Check in on him every few minutes to make sure he's working 2. Tell him before he gets on the computer that this is school work time only 3. Let him use the computer for other things sometimes
Teen, 14 years old written by AldultishGambino

Don't force you child to only do school work on their computer because they won't. Tell them when its okay to play games or watch netflix and when its time for school work and if they want do anything that you haven't already talked to them about. As long as your guidelines are sensible and you allow your child to come to you without fear I doubt your kid will break the rules or do anything you don't want.
Adult written by Samuel B.

Alright. I am going to start off, don't enforce something like netnanny or some sort of parental controls. Kids will always find a way to bypass it and there goes 50 bucks. If you really want to check, check what he's doing every once in a while or look through his search history.
Kid, 12 years old

Do not use software that allows you to remotely access/control your child's computer. That is an invasion of privacy. A lot of people do not realize that constantly checking in on your child's computer is equivalent to walking into their room every five minutes and scrutinizing everything. It is very impolite, and can make your child paranoid (I feel that way whenever I am within webcam range of a school computer). At least tell them about it BEFORE they get a computer, that way you and your child can work thing out and avoid a bunch of arguing, complaining, and general unhappiness.
Teen, 14 years old written by LostInPLace

Honestly, Just keep tabs on him. Installing spyware and restrictions is invasive and downright wrong and untrustworthy. Just pop in every so often, look over what tabs/ programs he has open, and set work time and play time on it. And get him to tell you what work he's doing, and show you what he's done. Then he can't avoid doing it, and it's done to a good standard. Hope this helps.
written by Jimmy brew

Just watch him and make sure he does not goof off if he does,punish him