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Configuring Parental Controls

From: Mac OS X Lion Essential Training

Video: Configuring Parental Controls

I don't care how precocious your child is. Allowing any young child, and some older ones, unfettered access to computer isn't a great idea. Fortunately, Lion includes parental controls which allows you to limit what particular users can do to the Mac. Here's how to set it up. Go to System Preferences and select Parental Controls. When you do this for the first time, you will be told that you need to create a new user, because there isn't one that has parental controls imposed. So we'll click Continue to create a new user account.

Configuring Parental Controls

I don't care how precocious your child is. Allowing any young child, and some older ones, unfettered access to computer isn't a great idea. Fortunately, Lion includes parental controls which allows you to limit what particular users can do to the Mac. Here's how to set it up. Go to System Preferences and select Parental Controls. When you do this for the first time, you will be told that you need to create a new user, because there isn't one that has parental controls imposed. So we'll click Continue to create a new user account.

I need to unlock my account in order to do this. So enter an administrator's password and now I am going to create a new account for my child. And we'll call this, the kid's name is kid, because I am not a very imaginative parent. Account name is kid. For our purposes we are going to make the password kid. But please make yours more secure. And Password hint is another bad idea. Don't write password is and then the name of the password. Now it will set about creating an account with parental controls imposed. Here we are.

We are inside the Parental Controls system preference, and here is what you do to limit access to this account. One of the first things you can do is invoke Use Simple Finder, and what this does is it creates a dock that has limited options. It also has fewer menu commands. So fewer things that will confuse a young child. You can also limit the applications that the user can use. So you'd click the downward pointing arrow and you can decide, all right, they can have Address Book. Well, I'm not going to let him use any of these Adobe applications. Automator, no.

Chess, I am going to let them play chess because that's a good thing for a kid. Let's say we will also give them access to Excel, because they're kind of a geek and they like spreadsheets. You can also choose whether they can use App Store apps. You can have them use all of them. Also, these apps are rated by age. So if you want them to use just kids' apps you might do 4+ or maybe 9+, but not up to 17+. You can also control their access to the dock. Do you want to allow them to modify the Dock or not? They can or not.

Now let's flip that off. Let's go to Web. You can also restrict what they can do on the web. So you can allow unrestricted access. So if you have an older child, you can let them go anywhere they want on the web. Or you can try to limit them. Now this is you can try to limit access to adult websites automatically. So Apple keeps a database of adult websites and if they try to get onto one of those websites, they will see a warning that says, you do not have privileges for this and you can't get here. Click Customize, then you can allow certain websites.

So this is creating a white list, and do that by clicking the Plus button and below you can click the Plus button and deny certain sites. Or you can allow Apple to choose for you. Allow access to only these sites and Apple has gone through to these kid-friendly sites and they've created a list of them. Again, if you like, click the Plus button and you can add bookmarks to others that you like. Now when configuring these web restrictions keep in mind that this works only for Apple Safari. So if you have something like Chrome or another web browser such as Firefox on your Mac make sure that you add that to the list of applications that are forbidden.

That way you'll have these web restrictions in place, because you'll only be allowed to use Safari. Then there is People. You could limit who your child communicates with. One way to do that is Limit email, so you can allow them to communicate with just certain people. Click the plus sign, add the first name, last name, and the email address of the person you're allowing your child to communicate with, and then click Add. You can also limit iChat. So if you want your kid chatting with their best friend, no problem.

All you do is click the Plus button and you choose the person you want to allow them to chat with. Now Time Limits. You can limit the amount of time that your child is working on the computer. First option is Weekday time limits. So for the weekday, all right, we are going to let him use the computer for about 2 hours a day. That's enough time for them to get their homework done and play a little game. You can also access the Weekend. You're going to give them even more time, because hey, it's the weekend. So 5 hours a day is fine.

You can impose Bedtimes. So on school nights, you can say, sorry, after 8 p.m. no computer for you until -- 6 is a little early for me -- until 7 a.m. and on Weekends you can stay up a little bit later. So 10 o'clock until, but we all sleep in. So until 10 in the morning. And then there is other. You can hide profanity in the Dictionary. The dictionary has some words that some people might find objectionable. You can hide those words if you like. You could limit printer administration.

That means that the user can't change printer settings, they can't add printers, and they can't remove printers. Limits CD and DVD burning is exactly what it says. If your child got into the habit of burning mixed CDs and you feel like that's not a proper way to use music, you can limit it so they can't burn DVDs and also disable changing the password. Honestly, if you're administering a computer and you don't want your kid to be able to do a lot of stuff on it, you don't want to allow them to change their passwords. So don't allow them to change their password.

We'll go back to the People tab so that you can see logs. This is important. Click the Logs button and here you're going to be able to see what your kid has done on the computer while you were away. So you can see a list of the websites they visited. The websites that have been blocked, your child tried to get to this website, but Parental Controls said, nah. Applications that the child has used and also iChat. Who has been chatting with your child? You can show activity for a Week, a Month, Three Months, Six Months, a Year, or all of it if you care to or you can group these logs by contact or by date.

When you're finished looking at the log just click Done. One other option I want to show you is down in the Tools menu. If you look at the very bottom you see this option to Allow Remote Setup. This means you don't have to be sitting down at the computer that your child is going to be using. Instead you can be on a computer on the local network. So your child has a computer in their room, you have your own computer elsewhere. You can set up Parental Controls from that remote computer. And that's one way so that the child doesn't feel like you're bursting into the room and playing with their computer, but instead you can configure Parental Controls as you like.

One of the nice things about this is, also you can change these settings if you like. So if your child gets a little bit older, remotely you can say okay, you're old enough now to use older apps from the Apps Store or we can allow you to use Photo Booth whereas you weren't allowed to use it before. So that's one of the advantages of doing this remotely. Now as a parent I can tell you that Parental Controls are helpful, but a good parent doesn't rely on them. It's always a good idea to explain why you're limiting the child's access to the Internet, email, and iChat without scaring them too much.

As children grow older, you can lighten up on the controls while at the same time you can let them know that if necessary you can monitor anything they do on the computer. It may seem intrusive and a little creepy, but it's important to protect your kids. And that's parental controls under Lion.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Mac OS X Lion Essential Training
Mac OS X Lion Essential Training

72 video lessons · 30985 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
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  1. 1m 26s
    1. Welcome
      53s
    2. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 4m 42s
    1. Installing Lion
      4m 42s
  3. 44m 44s
    1. Touring the Finder
      10m 19s
    2. Launching and working with apps
      4m 22s
    3. Sorting and starting apps with Launchpad
      3m 13s
    4. Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
      4m 35s
    5. Using trackpad gestures
      8m 22s
    6. Using mouse gestures
      2m 22s
    7. Understanding file saving in Lion
      4m 35s
    8. Using Text to Speech
      3m 9s
    9. Installing software
      3m 47s
  4. 26m 51s
    1. Personalizing the interface
      7m 31s
    2. Staying current with Software Update
      4m 13s
    3. Configuring Mail, Address Book, and iCal
      5m 2s
    4. Setting up printers
      3m 39s
    5. Backing up with Time Machine
      6m 26s
  5. 10m 49s
    1. Finding files with Spotlight
      5m 16s
    2. Digging deeper with Finder searches
      5m 33s
  6. 39m 6s
    1. Configuring basic personal preferences
      11m 14s
    2. Optimizing Mission Control preferences
      3m 42s
    3. Configuring basic Audio and Video preferences
      4m 34s
    4. Adjusting Input Device preferences
      7m 45s
    5. Configuring Bluetooth input devices
      2m 36s
    6. Modifying Date & Time Preferences
      2m 38s
    7. Getting on the internet
      3m 56s
    8. Using an alternate startup disk
      2m 41s
  7. 3m 22s
    1. Understanding Dashboard widgets
      3m 22s
  8. 23m 20s
    1. Navigating the interface
      6m 30s
    2. Filtering junk mail and sorting messages with rules
      4m 22s
    3. Scheduling appointments with iCal
      6m 38s
    4. Organizing contacts with Address Book
      5m 50s
  9. 37m 5s
    1. Basic word processing in TextEdit
      7m 56s
    2. Using Dictionary
      2m 51s
    3. Preview: Working with images
      6m 20s
    4. Preview: Working with PDFs
      6m 13s
    5. Installing and managing fonts
      5m 37s
    6. Creating quick notes using Stickies
      3m 24s
    7. Using Calculator
      4m 44s
  10. 34m 27s
    1. Navigating the web
      4m 49s
    2. Working with bookmarks
      7m 15s
    3. Adding and reading RSS feeds
      2m 38s
    4. Using Reading List
      3m 7s
    5. Saving web pages and creating web clips
      1m 15s
    6. Using Safari to search the web
      3m 13s
    7. Opening local files in Safari
      2m 33s
    8. Working with Safari's preferences
      4m 33s
    9. Configuring privacy settings
      5m 4s
  11. 13m 45s
    1. Playing media
      9m 3s
    2. Recording
      4m 42s
  12. 18m 26s
    1. Video chatting in FaceTime
      5m 26s
    2. Text and video messaging in iChat
      9m 6s
    3. Shooting videos and pictures in Photo Booth
      3m 54s
  13. 12m 46s
    1. Automating complex tasks
      12m 46s
  14. 13m 55s
    1. Monitoring system performance
      3m 20s
    2. Setting up a Windows installation in Boot Camp
      3m 49s
    3. Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
      6m 46s
  15. 15m 55s
    1. Understanding sharing
      4m 59s
    2. Sharing files on a network
      3m 23s
    3. Screen sharing with a remote computer
      4m 7s
    4. Sending files with AirDrop
      3m 26s
  16. 38m 47s
    1. Modifying Language & Text settings
      6m 38s
    2. Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
      6m 24s
    3. Configuring access for for the disabled
      7m 23s
    4. Using Energy Saver
      4m 42s
    5. Adding and changing users
      6m 19s
    6. Configuring Parental Controls
      7m 21s
  17. 18m 33s
    1. Preventive measures: Creating a Lion boot drive
      7m 40s
    2. Understanding and configuring permissions
      3m 6s
    3. Troubleshooting techniques
      7m 47s
  18. 6m 11s
    1. Techniques for using the Mac efficiently
      5m 22s
    2. Next steps
      49s

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