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Parental Controls in the Mac System 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. The first item in the Parental Controls System pane lets you require Simple Finder for this account.

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Simple Finder replaces the usual OS X desktop with a screen that contains big, square buttons. Each button launches an application from the list of those you permit. Many applications provide reduced menus when Simple Finder is in use. Simple Finder removes much of the complexity of the OS X interface and makes the computer more of an appliance.

Below Simple Finder is an area where you can limit the applications this user can launch to only those you specify. Simply deselect those you don’t want to allow access to. At the bottom of the pane are a series of checkboxes that let you give this user specific privileges:

  • Can Administer Printers: This privilege might be a good idea for kids who are a little older. They might learn enough to help you with printer problems.

  • Can Burn CDs and DVDs: You might want to wait on this privilege until you set clear guidelines on what they can and cannot share with their friends.

  • Can Change Password: Knowing your kid’s password makes it easier to check what’s on the computer, but you have other ways to do this.

  • Can Modify the Dock: Let young kids mess with the Dock, and they will keep pestering you to find the stuff they dragged off of it (to watch it go poof). Don’t select this check box.

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