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Mountain Lion includes parental controls, which allows you to limit what particular users can do on their Mac. And here's how to set it up. Click on Parental Controls, and we see that there's the guest user account. I'll click the lock to unlock it, enter my password, click on +, and I'm going to create a parentally controlled account, and we'll call this Kid. The account name will be Kid. On our password, verify the password, put in a password hint, and create the account.
So, here's the Kid account and we see that there are five tabs. Let's go through them. The first is Apps. You can choose to use a Simple Finder. What this does is it simplifies the Dock, it removes some menu commands, and it generally allows the person using the account to have access to the basic functions of the Mac but none of the advanced ones. You can also choose to limit applications. When you do this, you have a few options. First is, you can choose to allow any application that you got from the Mac App Store, or you can limit them by age rating.
Every application that's at the Mac App Store has an age rating, kind of like a movie rating, whether it's appropriate or not. So if you've purchased something for a preschool child, you may see that the rating is up to four plus. There's also up to nine plus, up to twelve plus, and up to seventeen plus. So, this may be helpful to limiting a small child to age appropriate games. You can also choose Allowed Apps. Now, the Mac sets up some of these for you. So for example, you probably aren't going to allow a child to use Automator, which automates tasks on your Mac.
But you will want them to use Calculator so they can do their math homework. Calendar is a good idea, your browser, dictionary, but perhaps you don't want them wasting time talking to their friends over FaceTime, so that's disabled. If you want to, click on it, and then you can enable it. So the idea is, choose the applications that you want them to use and disable those that you don't. And then you have the option whether to allow them to modify the Dock. Turn that off and they can't drag items into the Dock, instead there'll be a set configuration and that's it.
Now, let's go to Web. And this has to do with Safari. So, if they're browsing the web with Safari, by default, Safari will try to limit access to adult-themed websites. This can sometimes be a hit and miss affair. So, for example, if your child is doing research on breast cancer, for example, there may be some perfectly legitimate sites that have been blocked because of this setting. If you don't want to worry about that but do want to restrict in other ways, you can simply turn on "Allow unrestricted access to websites" and then Safari can go everywhere.
You can also customize. So, for example, if you are blocked by an education website that you don't think you should be, you can add it just by clicking on the + button and then typing in the URL for that site. And if there are websites that you absolutely do not want your child to visit, you can click on + and then add the URL there and they won't be able to get to that site. Or if you want to be very strict, Apple has gone through a series of websites that are perfectly okay for kids of all ages. That point, turn on "Allow access to only these websites," unless you click on the + button and once again you can add a bookmark or you can add a folder that contains bookmarks and they'll be able to access those sites.
Then there's the People tab. The first one has to do with Game Center. The first option is if they are invited to a multi-player game, by default, they're allowed to join. You can turn that off if you want. They may also receive Game Center invitations from friends. By default, they can receive those and accept them, turn it off and they won't be able to. You can also limit Mail and Messages. So, if I enable Limit Mail, you can then add email addresses that they can send to and receive mail from. So, just type in the first and last name, and then type in the email address, and if you like, you can add that person to the address book.
Click on add and then they can an exchange email with that person. Limit message, same idea. Click on +, first name, last name. If they're on AOL's AIM, you can then allow certain accounts, others will be blocked. Now, it's possible that your child will need to be able to communicate with somebody over the email, and maybe you're not at home. What will happen is your child will attempt to send an email message to somebody and this person is not on the approved list. If you unable "Send permission request to," you can enter your email address here.
When your child attempts to send that email, you will be sent a request saying, Is it okay if little Johnny communicates with so and so. If you recognize the person and the address, just say, "Yup, that's okay." A message will be returned to your child, they'll then be able to communicate with that person. You can limit the time that your child has on the computer. So, you can set weekday time limits. For example, during the week, they can be on for three hours total a day, two hours a day, half an hour a day, up to eight hours a day.
When they're about to reach their time limit, they'll see warnings every so often. This allows the child to finish up their work, log off, and then they're okay. You can set weekend time limits separately. So, maybe you want to give them more or less time during the weekend so that they can get outside and play. And then you can set bedtime hours as well. In this case, we have School nights, and that means after eight o'clock up till 6:00 a.m., they will not be able to log in to their account. And then you can set a separate time for the weekend.
And then there's some miscellaneous settings as well. You can keep them from using the dictation feature, you can hide profanity in the dictionary, you can keep them from administrating printers, you can keep them from burning CDs and DVDs. That's not such a big problem that it once was because fewer Macs have media burners now. And you can prevent them from changing the password. Let's go back to Apps because I want to show you the Logs button. Click on Logs, and this keeps a record of everything your child has done within certain applications.
First there's Websites Visited. This will keep a log of all the websites that the child has visited. If you haven't prevented any websites, you'll still see a list of the websites they've been to. If you have limited websites and they try to visit one that's forbidden, you'll see a list of those that they've tried to visit but have been blocked from. Choose applications and you'll see all the applications that they've used, and Messages will include a list of the people that they've messaged with. And you can show activity for a week, a month, three months, six months, one year, or you can see all of them if you want.
When you choose Messages, you can choose how you're going to group them, by contact or by date. And basically, all this does is it serves as a way so you can check up on your kid to see what they've been doing. And that's Parental Controls.
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