How to make your Mac safe for kids

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Kid sitting in front of Mac screen

Are you concerned about your child’s use of their Mac? Mac OS X provides options to make your Mac safe for kids.

Your might use Parental Controls built into your Mac to restrict what content your child sees online or you may want to restrict a kids use so that they don’t waste hours in front of the screen.

In fact Mac’s Parental Controls don’t even need to be for kids. You can use the features at your disposal to place limits on employees, friends or visitors to your home.



In order to make your Mac safe for kids you need to set up a managed account.

To do this go into System Preferences > Users & Accounts. Create a new account and click the “Enable Parental Controls” box. You need to have administrator access to use this feature.

If your kid has a Mac of their own you can manage Parental Controls remotely as well. There is a box on the main Parental Control screens that you should make sure is checked.

Once you have setup an account that you want to restrict you’ll have control over five different areas: Apps, Web, People, Time Limits and Other.

Let’s explore each area…



You can make your Mac safe for kids by restricting access to specific applications. For example you may want to limit access so only Notes, Safari, iPhoto and Mail are visible.

This also has the benefit of simplifying the use of the Mac for your child.



The web tab allows you to customise the websites your child has access to. The Mac will have a default set of websites that are automatically restricted that you can add to your customised list. There is also a list of kid-friendly sites that you can add to by clicking on the + button.



The third way you can make your Mac safe for kids is to restricts the people that they can mail and message. This is done by allowing or limiting communication to people listed in contacts.

You can also setup notifications to your email address if you want to know when your child attempts to get in contact with someone who isn’t on the approved list.

This tab also gives you an option to limit access to the Game Center.



Time limits does more than make your Mac safe for kids it can ensure that they aren’t spending too much time in front of the Mac. Something we’re probably all guilty of!

The time limits tab lets you restrict access to a certain amount of time each day, either during the week or on weekends.

Another handy feature is the ability to restrict access to certain hours of the day. That way you can ensure your child doesn’t stay up late playing games.



The “other” tab gives a range of other tools to make your Mac safe for kids.

For example you can restrict access to the camera, hide rude words in the Mac’s in-built dictionary, limit access to printer settings as well as CD and DVD burning.


(Via:; Mac World; Dummies; Cult of Mac)

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