5 Tips For Parental Controls on Mac

By Kay Tan. Filed in Tools

Have you ever felt worried leaving the Mac with your children? With access to the Internet – the world wide web of unfiltered content and unlimited possibilities – they can virtually do anything unsupervised, from talking to strangers to charging thousands to your credit card, in just a few clicks.



(Image Source: Fotolia)

We can’t actually stop children from using the Mac for learning or entertainment purposes. We can, however, ensure that the Mac is safe for your children with built-in Parental Controls.

Setting Up Parental controls

To set parental controls on Mac, you need to create a separate account for your child, which you can easily do so via System Preferences > Users & Groups. Then, just follow these 3 steps to start enforcing parental controls:

  1. Click on the lock at the bottom right of the screen to start making changes.

    Unlock

  2. Click on the ‘+‘ button to create a new user account, otherwise, you can edit the settings of an existing account by clicking on it.

    Plus button

  3. Just make sure ‘Enable parental controls’ is checked, then click on the Open Parental Controls button.

    Open Parental Control

There are 5 features in Parental Controls which you’ll find very useful to know. Remember, it’s all about limiting what your child has access to, and monitoring their activities on the Mac.

1. Limit Website Access

On the Net, you never know what your child might be seeing. You can choose to allow unrestricted access (definitely not recommended), limit access to certain sites, or allow access to only the authorized few.

Web

If you want to limit access to selected sites, use the Customize button. It lets you choose which websites that have won your approval, or which websites that are definitely not allowed for your children.

Custom

2. Limit Applications

If you have important applications on your Mac like Dropbox or Cloud where you store your valuable files, then remember to check Limit Applications before your child accidentally erases your files.

Apps

You can specifically customize which application your child will be allowed to open and use.

3. Limit iChat & Mail

You can also limit the people your child can communicate with via the Mac. You can limit Mail or limit iChat to people you know in person or those you don’t mind letting your child chat or email with.

People

Tip: You can set Mac to alert you via email whenever your child attempts to email somebody who isn’t in the list of allowed contacts.

4. Limit Time

With ‘Time Limits’ you can set how long your children can use your computer (because if you are not going to stop them, who else is?), and also when they can use it. Customize the time limits for weekday and weekend so your child can’t use the Mac too much that they neglect their school work.

Time limit

You can even set curfews; block access to the Mac after late hours.

5. Keep logs

We can’t always be around to keep tabs, but when your children uses their account to access your computer, you can always check the activities they carried out while using it. Just click on the Logs button.

Logs

The log collection will display details of activities, including websites visited, applications used and even with whom they had chatted with.

Logs

Conclusion

Parental Controls are essential to help you control, limit and ensure your children’s safe browsing activities while using your Mac. Not only will your files be secure, your children will also be protected from strangers and unwanted sites. The time limitation is also good to inculcate good surfing habits.

(j)



Author:

Kay is a tech-savvy and regular writer at Hongkiat.com. He also maintains K-Director, a technology blog. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.