Parental Controls on 17-y-o's Laptop?

I have a 17-y-o heading off to boarding school for the first time - entering as a junior.  The primary reason my teen is going to boarding school is for a better fit - this is a bright teen who is floundering in the local public and private school systems.  I'm hoping a change in environment, a school with supports for gifted w/ ADHD students, and routine and structure implemented by someone other than parents will be a good thing.  

Like a lot of teens, mine is completely distracted and consumed by technology use.  The boarding school will manage this to a point, but I'm thinking it would be a good idea to have parental controls in place as well (we've had them in place on devices all along to some degree of usefulness).

My question is this: what parental controls on a MacBook have you found to be useful in supporting a teen's use of the device as a learning tool, while limiting their ability to use it for excess distraction or, worse, nefarious (keeping Tor and Bitcoin off, etc.) purposes?

This has proven to be a helpful and insightful forum for me in the past, so thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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A 17-year-old? They are at the age when it needs to be about discussion/negotiation, not parental controls. In one year your child will legally be an adult so you need to think about how to parent a person for whom your opinions are advisory.

I agree with the post of Sept. 2. At 17, a teenager should understand your family's values, rules, and expectations around technology/social media. As your son heads off to boarding school, it's important for him to believe that you have faith in his ability to make good decisions (even if you have concerns). As a family, I would suggest that you have a frank discussion with your son before he leaves for school. You might have somesuggestions ready with apps that help kids monitor their own computer usage, but I do not recommend parental monitoring. At this age, remember that it's more important to LISTEN than to offer advice! 

- Mother of two young adults, director of The Parent Education Series 

I tend to agree with the above response but still, I think it's ok to set some restrictions. I'm going through this right now with my 14 year old daughter. You can enable restrictions by setting up an administrator account on her computer, and going into parental controls window. I found it doesn't do everything, but helps. Then, there is YouTube which is a beast into itself. Look on line for how to set restrictions on youtube. I'm still trying to figure it out across all devices. She was looking at pornography, super raunchy stuff and very upsetting.

This is a battle we are all dealing with! I'm interested to read what other people say and I definitely agree that limits and controls are beneficial for impulsive teens.

Your teen is only one year away from college.  Boarding school at 17 is more like starting college a year early than being a high school student who needs a lot of parental guidance. The rest of us parents usually get another year to make the transition from parenting a high schooler to being counselor and advisor to an older teen/young adult.  You are making the transition a year early. Let me tell you how it goes when your 18yo kid goes away to college - I've survived it twice!  You can try to give input but you no longer have the influence you had before. They can do what they like, when they like. The best you the parent can do is hope you've instilled the right values up to now, and then hope they will come to you if there's a problem. My kids were VERY fond of their computers in high school, to the point where I was locking up electronics in the trunk of the car at night because one of them was sneakily staying up all night playing games and unable to get out of bed in the morning. Once they were no longer in my house, they figured out for themselves why this doesn't work. Not right away, but by trial and error. I remember visiting my oldest when he was a sophomore at a college in another state. He was living in a house he shared with three other 19 year olds. The living room was a shrine to electronics, including an "altar" piled high with empty chip bags and bottles. But they figured out a balance for themselves, even though they did not have an adult monitoring them.  They got to class and they did what they needed to do, and they are all fine young men now, out on their own. Your kid will do that too.  

It's not an easy transition for parents, but for most of us there comes a time when our kids have to make decisions for themselves, and it's your time now, so try to make peace with that.