How do I keep kids from getting distracted from Fortnite?

I know Anonymous accounts are frowned upon, but recently this new game called “Fortnite” has come out and it has distracted most of my kids for the duration of the day. This results in no progress towards improving our robot for our next competition. I have attempted to take away computer privilege from the kids but they are now playing on their phones… Does anyone have a solution to my problem? I would really appreciate it.

We have a cubby for each student to put their belongings in like gloves, safety glasses, thumbdrives, and other things. Years ago we had a similar issue and we would have students put their phones, ipods, electronic devices in the cubby for the duration of the meeting. If students needed to contact a parent they would have to go to the hall and contact them then when they returned put it back in their cubby. Depending on your situation another option is let them keep it on them but if you catch the using it for any non robotic thing then it is to be put away immediately. We have since moved away from this as we don’t have this issue anymore.

Are you a student or a mentor? And is the space you use voluntarily given to you for your use only or a shared space?

We tell students that are playing computer games or on their phones constantly to go home. If you don’t want to work on the robot, there’s no point in staying at school.

^^This is a option too.

There is no point in having any kind of “electronic device use policy” unless it is enforced. 1678 makes it clear to all members that, during team meetings, no-one is to be using an electronic device to do anything but work-related tasks. The only exception is important personal communication, say, with a parent. Playing video games or personal browsing are not allowed. If a student is found to violate this policy we give them a warning and send them home for the remainder of that day. If they violate the policy a second time they are removed from the team.

Our team has almost zero problems with off-task behavior as a result of our firmly-enforced policy. And, for the record, the enforcement comes from our student leadership not mentors.

Honestly, I think the best thing you can do is to put your foot down and let them know that meetings are for working on the robot and not for hanging out with friends. Remind them that time is running out to get things done and they aren’t going to do well at competition by screwing around. If you can’t get them to stop playing during meeting time, it may be necessary to kick the worst offenders off of the team if they aren’t making a positive impact.

It’s also possible that the students are suffering from burnout from the long build season and just can’t get back into the swing of things. It may be necessary to make less meetings mandatory so students can have some time to recover between meetings.

Edit: Also, if you’re making an anonymous account, you should probably set your team number to 0 so it shows as no team…

gr8 b8 m8

Is there any way you could ban Fortnite from running on a device connected to the network in your build space? Switching to LTE/cellular would be an easy workaround if it’s usably fast at your location, but the ban would provide a good warning.

I’m not sure this is a good idea for two main reasons: one, it penalizes students who don’t play on their phones, and two, not having immediate access to a phone could be a major issue in the event of an emergency.

These are more reasonable options. Maybe allow such use during team breaks for things like meals, then back to work as soon as break time is over. With any solution, there should be an exception for the case of emergency.

Thanks for the advice, I am a leader on the team. My kids believe that because we have a week before competition, they can play games like fortnite. I have tried to confiscate devices but kids refuse to hand them over. The problem is that this is a whole team issue and I am the only one concerned about qualifying for champs this year… The mentors on my team are also fed up with the issue but do not want to deal with the issue. All responsibility has been been placed on me and I’m just sick of it.

This is what my former team did. It works pretty well, especially on the weekends where we could meet for up to 10 hours a day.

Compared to build season, not too much can be done before competition. Depending on how much needs to be done, perhaps not all the team needs to be there? You could limit it to certain sub-teams and try to go from there. You (and/or mentors) should address this in a full team meeting if it hasn’t been done yet.

FRC 1717

too soon

Our workshop is pretty small. The farthest you could be away from your phone is 30 ft. Long ago when we did enforce this most students didn’t have phones and it was mainly to prevent ipod use. I would advise the other solution I provided as the better option.

Tell them this, verbatim.

“One week is not enough time to do anything meaningful with respect to robot design and fabrication. Games, or robot. Choose now. But before you do, remember your choice, because you will face it again in college and in industry. Would your boss be happy, 10 years from now, if you made the same choice?”

I would suggest coming at it from a few angles.

  1. We often work long, stressful days on FRC teams. Sometimes a break is warranted. However, obviously you don’t want people mostly taking breaks and not working. Or, those taking a break shouldn’t be distracting those that work. Do you have a spot that you can designate as the official break/Fortnite room? Tell everyone that if they want to take a break, they have to do it in there.

  2. This may result in everyone leaving the work area and hanging out in the break area. If that’s the case, then it might be time to ask “what work should be getting done?” Is there a list? Does everyone know? Does everyone agree? Is there enough work for everyone or is it mostly certain people, like the drive team or the chairman’s team or the electrical team? Maybe there is legitimately a case where only some students need to work, and the rest can stay home. I know it can be frustrating to be told “everyone needs to be working!” but not having anything to actually do.

  3. Do you have occasional team parties, or social nights, or nights where you guys can just hang out and relax? Sometimes those are nice too.

  4. What is your goal for your competition(s)? Do you plan to win the event? Make 6th alliance captain? Or just be chosen for eliminations? Maybe you’re happy to be in the top half of the rankings. Do you hope to win any of the awards? Whatever your team goal is, what can you be doing to work toward it? Lots of driver practice? Autonomous code improvements? Maybe some work to do on your binders, some posters, practice some presentations? Make specific goals, which leads to specific work tasks. Everyone should be on board with these tasks. Note: you mention that you’re frustrated because you seem to have a set of goals in your head that nobody else agrees with. It might mean that you need to lower your standards, as it were, if you can’t pull up the rest of the team to your level.

I’m going to address this part, rather than the phone policy.

Enforcing things solo without backup is exhausting. It may be worth some heavy introspection on whether or not valuable lessons can be gained from failure, *specifically *failure out of lack of effort. The situation might benefit from a few quiet conversations with those who are spending their time playing. Take them aside and explain the path they’re on: Other teams will out-work them, and it will manifest itself in awards, robot effectiveness, and value derived from the program.

I was the stubborn student doing my own thing, and direct statements about what I *should *be doing didn’t help. Only when a mentor pulled me aside and laid out every way I’d be beaten as a result of my lack of effort did I finally get it, but it wasn’t right then. It was sitting on the sidelines, watching someone who out worked me receive a promotion. It was seeing that person continue to rise, purely from their work ethic. I’m not trying to denigrate that person, they turned into quite an incredible friend and someone I still look up to.

Basically, this boils down to understanding the impact you CAN have, and crafting the most potent way that you CAN influence your class. Do you want to be the authoritarian, or the quiet voice of reason to distracted students?

Reading this thread was the most fun I have had all day!!!

Sounds like you need an Instant Motivator:

Tell them to quit playing Fortnite and pick up PUBG.

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