Motivation & Procrastination, Other, Time Management

How to Control Computer Distractions

While computers and the internet are amazing resources for students, they are full of potential distractions. Today’s students spend hours per day on the computer for learning tasks both in and out of school. However, social media sites, online games, and other “addictive” websites are everywhere, and many students have a hard time staying on task when they are doing school work on the computer.

Thankfully, there are programs available that enable students to temporarily block popular social media sites, online games, or whatever other websites are becoming a distraction. Two of these programs are detailed below. The programs are very similar; the main difference is that one only works on PCs while the other only works on Mac computers.

Cut down on homework time dramatically by limiting computer distractions.

Cut down on homework time dramatically by limiting computer distractions.


This program is available for PCs only.

Cold Turkey allows you to choose the websites that you would like to block access to, and choose how long you would like the sites blocked for. The free version of the program allows you to block the chosen websites for as little as ten minutes or as long as seven days. However, once the timer is set you can’t cancel the block that you have put into place, so be sure to choose how long you would like to block access wisely.

Here is a description of the program taken from the Cold Turkey website:

“Cold Turkey is a free/open source program that you can use to temporarily block yourself off of popular social media sites, addicting websites, online games and whatever else you want!

You can use it to help you concentrate while you work on your computer. Imagine how fast you could do your work without all those distractions!”

Find more information at


This program is available for Mac computers only.

This program also allows the user to choose the websites that they would like to block and set the length of time that they would like the websites blocked for. Again, you need to be cautious about the amount of time that you choose to block the websites for. Once you start the SelfControl timer you can’t stop the program until the time limit that you specified has expired.

Here is a description of the program taken from the SelfControl website:

“SelfControl is a free and open-source application for Mac OS X (10.5 or above) that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click ‘Start.’ Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application.”

Find more information at


With the help of these programs, students (and adults) can cut down on homework time dramatically by limiting their distractions on the internet.

We would love to hear your Cold Turkey and SelfControl success stories. To share your story, post it in the comments section below.

Now that computer distractions will be under control, learn how to study and do homework faster and get better grades here.

-Susan Kruger


2 Responses to “How to Control Computer Distractions”

  1. Ginny says:

    While the names of these programs make it sound like someone is gaining control, actually just the opposite is occurring. Someone needs to learn to control his or her own behavior, not depend on a computer program to control it for them. This reminds of the neighborhood I lived in that put speed bumps in to control speeders; rather than slow down overall, the drivers would speed up in between the bumps exacerbating the problem not fixing it. We shouldn’t teach children to become dependent on other people or mechanisms; we should teach them self-control.

  2. Kim says:

    Choosing to hit the button to use these programs is an intentional act. I would consider any intentional act that limits distractions to be a form of self control. It is similar to shutting yourself in a room with the door shut. Intentional and purposeful. I have taught high school for 26 years and have raised two teens recently. Technology is unavoidable and it does bring e potential of distractions. This is simply a tool to help them self govern.

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