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How to install parental controls on your teen's computer

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Safe and secure

The internet is rife with dangers for even the smartest teenagers. Learn how to manage your child's access to lurking dangers by installing parental controls on his or her devices.

Teen girl using laptop | Sheknows.com

The internet can seem like a scary place for kids. Between the threat of predators, cyberbullies, identity thieves and disturbing content, parents should approach the internet with a healthy discomfort. As you work to make your child's online experience as safe as possible, consider adding one of the following parental controls to your devices for added security.

Create parental controls within the device

The simplest way to add parental controls to your child's online experience is to set them up within your device's operating system. For instance, the Windows operating system gives you the option to set up an administrator account, which then allows you to place parental controls on all standard user accounts. In turn, this allows you to set limits on usage, games and programming for each individual user account, which you can assign to each child.

Since each device and operating system is different, complete an internet search for your device's specific instructions. Usually it's only a matter of a few clicks before your child's interaction with content is reasonably controlled.

Use an outside service for extra assistance

Sometimes, however, a device's parental controls aren't well-tailored to the needs of a child or family. In this case, additional parental control services can prove very useful. An outside service usually comes with a price tag but it will offer you a more finely tuned experience with parental controls than the device alone can offer. Each of these services provides some mixture of content controls, usage controls, usage management (which requires, for example, a child to stay off Facebook while studying) and monitoring controls.

If you're interested in adding additional controls to your child's device, look no further than a quick internet search for "parental controls." You can usually pay for and download the service of your choice directly from the internet. Some of the best-reviewed services include Net Nanny, Spector eBlaster and AVG Internet Security. You can mix these services with the device's controls or let them stand alone.

Consider adding extra protection

Parental controls, unfortunately, can only do so much to protect your child online. If you want to fully protect your child against internet dangers, then safeguard him or her against content and cybercriminals. MetLife Defender is a fabulous tool that runs interference for the online safety of the entire family, with special consideration given to your child. It provides all of the oversight you want from a parental control program but definitely goes above and beyond for full protection. For instance, we love that the product provides a service called Child ID Theft Scanning and Protection, which safeguards your child's identity from thieves so his or her credit will be unscathed when it comes time to apply for a car or student loans.

More from Teens, Tweens & College

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Make your home a hangout for your kids and their friends
6 Fictional role models for teen girls

MetLife Consumer Services, Inc. has paid SheKnows a promotional fee in connection with this content. For further information on the MetLife Defender product, please visit metlifedefender.com.

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