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Parental Controls in the Mac Content Pane

When you set up parental controls for your child’s Mac, you need to choose the options you want enabled in the various Parental Controls pane. OS X offers a number of options to limit what content your kids can see, using the Content pane.

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One example of what you can limit in the Parental Controls pane is the Hide Profanity in Dictionary check box. You can also ask OS X to try to limit access to adult sites automatically. If you then click the Customize button, you can list sites you want added or specifically banned. The third option restricts your kids to only those sites you specifically choose.

The rest of the Content pane offers you some choices on what kind of content your kids get to see online:

  • Allow Unrestricted Access to Websites: Select this check box for older kids only. You can still check the logs to see where they’re going.

  • Try to Limit Access to Adult Websites Automatically: This option uses filters that attempt to determine what is and is not kid appropriate. They’re not foolproof, occasionally letting bad stuff through and, at the same time, limiting access to sites that are harmless. And, you find a third class of sites to consider: those that provide sound information on health, sex, and what’s happening to kids’ bodies as they mature. If you select this check box, a Customize button appears. Click it, and you see a pane with two text areas. In the top one, you specify sites that are always allowed, perhaps a health information for kids site that you’ve reviewed. The bottom one lists sites that are never allowed, a trickier proposition because so many exist.

  • Allow Access to Only These Websites: This may be the sanest option for the younger set. You can surf sites first and add ones that you deem appropriate. You can even add Safari bookmarks and folders to this list.

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