OS X Lion Parental Controls

By Dan Hinckley

2 responses. »

OS X Lion is right around the corner and one of the most important capabilities for parents is to how they’ll be able to control the ways their computers are used by their children. Like previous versions of OS X, Apple has included Parental Controls in the latest version of their operating system.

Parental Controls are available at the account level that will allow you to restrict access to time on the computer, websites visited, who your children chat with, and what applications they use. The built in parental controls make it easier for Parents to be confident in the ways their children use technology.

Parental Controlled Accounts

To be able to set limitations or enable Parental Controls on an account, its recommended that when you create the account you set it to type “Managed with Parental Controls”. This will allow you to easily configure the account with the capabilities and limitations you want for your child.

Limiting Apps

With the addition of the Mac App store its become more important for parents to be able to limit the applications that children have access too. Now with Lion, the Parental Controls include Apps.

With the controls for Apps you can limit the applications available to Children as well as limit their ability of modify the Dock. Daycare centers and elementary schools around the world will absolutely love that feature!

The best part off this addition is that it shows you the rating of each of the apps installed. It would be create if you could set rules to automatically disable apps based on their rating but that doesn’t seem to be an included feature.

Limit Chats & Email

In OS X 10.7 Lion, you can limit your children’s ability to email people you don’t know. This also includes the ability to limit the people they chat with on iChat. If you plan on using this service its a good idea to block websites that have chat built in so that your children are forced to use iChat and the settings you’ve configured for them.

Time Limits

One of the most important features for parents is the ability to limit children’s time with technology. Without these limits kids will often spend all day playing games and browsing the internet. To help you end fights with your children about their time online you can simply set a time limit with Parental Controls on Lion.

These controls include the time during the day that the accounts can be used or the number of hours in a day that the computer account can be utilized.

Restrict Web Access

OS X Lion includes the ability to restrict access to websites. More importantly it also includes the ability to access the logs of the sites your children visit. If you’re really interested in blocking access to specific types of content on the web, I’d suggest utilizing OpenDNS at the router level. This will block access on your iPhone, iPad, and other internet ready devices your children may have access too.


Overall, the parental controls on OS X Lion are a great start. Utilizing these tools will help you keep control over your children’s internet and computer use and provide you with more insight into what they’re doing online.

If you’re looking for more advanced protection in your open consider Router Level controls like OpenDNS.

About Dan Hinckley
Dan Hinckley is an experienced Mac user who converted to Apple products when they introduced them on Intel Processors. He loves helping others get more out of their devices! Subscribe to Maciverse.com to get the latest from Dan and the Maciverse Team!! Find out more about Dan:

2 Responses so far.

  1. mojo

    August 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    The time limits in Lion are severely broken and unusable. The remaining time counts down at 3x of real time and then displays negative numbers like 0:-5.

  2. Connie

    August 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Dear Dan Hinckley,
    You write this beautiful article proclaiming how great the parental controls on the mac are it's just a bunch of JUNK. It's completely FALSE. The parental controls have NEVER worked consistently and you should know that it you had kids and they were actually using a mac which you were trying to limit. In theory, the parental controls work like your beautifully (but negligently false) article says. Try using it BEFORE you proclaim how great they work!! Time limit will not count down if a kid stays on the same game/program without exiting OR it may count down and log them off but they just simply have to log back in again OR if logged off then they just have to restart the computer and it resets the time all over again. REALLY. APPLE IS HUGE and they can't or won't fix the parental controls to work…..why…..they want our kids to be addicted to the computer to increase their future sales. Bye, bye MAC…Hello PC. At least PC makers don't control every time limit program out there. APPLE won't even let someone make a program that limits "time on the computer". Yes, you can find MAC programs that LIMIT INTERNET TIME but there is NOT 1 PROGRAM FOR A MAC THAT LIMITS "TIME ON A MAC COMPUTER". If you know of one, please let everyone in on it….and that's a dare.

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