Parental Controls On Your Mac

As the internet remains a Wild West of content where users are free to “stumble upon” content areas of many different classes and computer tasks are continually being moved to internet based platforms, more and more parents are interested in locking down the computer experience of their children.

Included in Mac OS X Leopard are Parental Controls that will allow you to keep track of what applications your children can use, how they view the desktop and finder, the websites they can or can not visit, as well as who they can email and instant message.

These controls provide a sense of security for parents that are worried about what their children may “digg” up while learning new ideas on the computer.

To setup Parental Controls on OS X Leopard:

  1. Open System Preferences and then select Accounts
  2. System Preferences.png
  3. Next, unlock the settings so that you can make changes by clicking the Lock in the lower left corner, enter your password to confirm the unlock request
  4. Accounts.png
  5. Select the user account on the left navigation for the account you’d like to apply Parental Controls. If you haven’t already setup an account for the user you’d like to restrict, you can also do that from the Accounts section of System Preferences
  6. Once the account is selected select Open Parental Controls
  7. Accounts-1.png
  8. Now that the Parental Controls option is open, you can select the System setup you’d like available to the user. Simplify Finder, Limit availability of Applications, lock down the dock and creation of CDs, etc.
  9. Parental Controls.png

The other tabs across the top will allow you to limit the content available to the user included what they view on the web, Mail & iChat will limit who they can talk to, and Time Limits will restrict access during certain times of day or limit the length of time they can compute and browse the web.

Additionally, if you’re still concerned about what the user may be trying to get at, you can setup logs to report back on their computing behavior.