Kids are sneaky. Most of them are built that way; a rare few don’t start out that way, but can be convinced to exercise some sneakiness when there is what they consider to be a very, very good reason for it.
And anything can be a good reason. They want something that you don’t want them to have. They want to do something that you don’t want them to do. They think that they might get in trouble for something that they want to do.
Virtual schooling, unfortunately, makes the sneakiness easier than traditional homeschooling. In traditional homeschooling, if your child is on the internet, they are likely either doing research or playing an educational game that they’ve been instructed to play. Virtual schooled kids spend the bulk of a lot of their days on the computer.
Unfortunately, that means that they learn their way around one pretty quickly—and it also means that they get to decide for themselves what they’re going to do with a lot of their time. Some kids would never even consider using their school time to do things that they aren’t supposed to be doing. Others can barely get through a day without flitting off to a website that they aren’t supposed to be on—whether that’s a website that answers questions that have nothing to do with school, or game websites that are not the least bit educational.
What’s a parent to do?
The first step is installing appropriate filtering software on the kids’ computer. Windows has some excellent programs available; most browsers will allow you to block certain sites at your discretion.
The second is making sure your kids know what the rules are and what the consequences will be. There may still be times when they disobey. However, clear expectations will make it easier for everyone to know what’s going to happen next.
Allow some computer game time. It doesn’t have to be a lot; but if you’re constantly saying, “No games!” they will be more likely to go behind your back to get what they want.
Finally, check their browsing history regularly. Don’t let them get away with it—checking on them before it becomes a long-term habit will make it that much easier to break.