Join Chad Chelius for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting parental controls, part of Learning Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
If you're like me and you have children in the household who are budding or even experienced computer users, the parental control feature in Mountain Lion can be an extremely valuable tool. Be enabling parental control for a user account, you can limit certain aspects of a child's computer usage to control the usage or protect them from inappropriate content. To access parental controls, we're going to come up here to our Apple menu and we're going to go to System Preferences. Now, we can actually do this in two different locations.
First of all, we can do it in the Users and Groups Preference pane. So if we click on that, we can authenticate using an administrative username and password. So I'll go ahead and do that now. An then you can select an account, and choose Enable Parental Controls. What I like about this is that you can take a standard account, an make it a managed account, and vice versa. Once you've added parental controls to account, as your child grows you can always disable that account as well.
Now, the other place you can do this, is we can go back to the Show All button up here, and we can just go directly to Parental Controls. And you can see that I've already authenticated, down here at the bottom, so that I can add an account. And I can do that right here in the Parental Controls Preference pane. So I'm going to click the plus sign, and we're going to create a brand new account. So, I'm going to give this a name of Johnny Doe. And for the account name, we'll just name it Johnny. And we're going to give this a password, and then you can even do a hint.
So, I'm going to click Create an Account. And once it does that, it's automatically going to make it a managed account. Now, you can still customize certain aspects of the account back in the Users and Groups preference pane. But here in the Parental Controls, is where we can control access of this account. So, first of all, up here in the Apps Button, we have the ability to use the Simple Finder if we choose to. And what this does is it just really simplifies the User Interface, especially useful for very young children.
Down here we can limit the applications that the child can access. So if I turn this on, I can come down here and I can choose which apps that the child has access to. So I can turn them on or off as I wish, and control which applications they are allowed to use. So I'll turn that off for now. Down here at the bottom, we can also control whether the user is allowed to modify their own dock. Meaning, are they allowed to move these around or customize them at all? If you want to control that, we'll just keep this unchecked.
Once I turn that off, they can no longer modify the contents of the dock. I'll turn it back on for now. We'll come up here to the Web button. Now, this section up here is pretty useful, because it's very easy when you're browsing the Web to accidentally access inappropriate content. So, the Default Setting is to try to Limit Access to adult websites automatically. Now what you can do, however, is you can customize, and then you can add the sites that they're allowed to and the sites that they are never allowed to.
So this doesn't even have to be inappropriate content, even if there's a website that you simply don't want the child to get to, you can add that to this list by clicking the plus sign. What we can also do is you can allow unrestricted access to all websites, and you can even allow access to only these websites. So here is a default list of websites that are really specific to young children, but you can always add additional ones using the plus sign.
You can even Click on the Logs button to access the Logs that they visited, websites that had been blocked, Applications that they've accessed and Messages that they've sent. So again, you have a lot of control and you can see what was done using this account. So, I'm going to go ahead and click Done. Then we'll go to the People Tab. You can also control who your child can email and message with, as well. You can also control who the user can access via Game Center.
Game Center is an application that allows users to play games online with one another. Again, this can be limited or you can prevent access altogether. The one that's one of my favorites is the Time Limits button. Because, as children use the computer, they tend to get on there quite a bit. And so what I've done in my experience, is I've been able to limit the computer use to certain hours of the day. How many hours in a day as well. So what you can do is you can limit how many hours they can use the computer.
You can also specify weekend time limits. So, here on the Weekend I can say well, we'll allow them to access it maybe a little bit more. So maybe we'll set this to two hours, and they will set this one to three hours. In addition you can control when they can access it, so on school nights, we want to make sure that from 8 o'clock at night to 6 in the morning, they can't access the computer. If your child decides to start getting up too early, you can increase this to 7 a.m., that way even if they get up early they still won't have access to it. And then on the weekends, what I have done, is I've increased the limit at night to a little bit later and left it open in the early hours. In the Other category you also have the ability to disable the use of dictation, which is basically the ability to use voice commands to enter text into a document.
You can hide profanity in the dictionary application, and you can also limit the printer administration. Which, essentially, prevents the user from changing printer settings. You could also limit the CD and DVD burning, and disable changing of their own password. That way you can always get into their account as well. So, that's how easy it is to set up parental control in Mountain Lion. Parental controls are a great feature and it really allows you to be a little bit more at ease with your child's computer use. The really nice thing about parental controls is that the settings can be adjusted as a child grows to meet their current needs.
- Installing Mountain Lion
- Creating and logging in to a user account
- Setting parental controls
- Customizing the Finder window toolbar
- Sharing files between users
- Browsing the web with Safari
- Sending and receiving email
- Installing applications
- Using Reminders, Notes, Messages, and the Notification Center
- Backing up and restoring files with Time Machine