Macs All-in-One For Dummies
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To set up parental controls, you need to first make yourself the administrator for your kids’ Mac. You then need to set up a separate account for each child who will be using the computer. Even if you have more than one child and are giving each one his own Mac, it’s still a good idea to give each kid an account on each machine. That way, if one child borrows an older sibling’s Mac, she still has the restrictions you impose.

To set up accounts for your children:

Select System Preferences from the Apple menu and click the Accounts icon.

Select System Preferences from the Apple menu and click the Accounts icon.

It’s the one with a silhouette of two heads.

Click the plus sign in the lower-left corner to add a new account.

You may have to click the Lock icon first and enter your password.

In the New Account pane, fill in the name and password you want your child to have.

In the New Account pane, fill in the name and password you want your child to have.

Because the account name and short name are used in OS X for many purposes and may show up during Internet use, do not include your kids’ last name on the account. An alternative for kids who are very young is to combine a name and number from two different parts of their lives, such as a character from a favorite story and their room number in school.

Because this is an account for a child, select Managed with Parental Controls from the New Account drop-down list.

Other account options include Standard and Administrator. Don’t give your kids administrative privileges. This does mean they will ask you occasionally to enter your password so that they can do something that requires these privileges, such as installing some downloaded software. You want to know about these things.

Click the Create Account button.

Click the Create Account button.

When you’re done, you see the Accounts system preferences pane again, this time with the new account highlighted.

Select the account you just created, if it’s not already selected, and select the Enable Parental Controls check box. Click the Open Parental Controls button.

Select the account you just created, if it’s not already selected, and select the Enable Parental Controls check box. Click the Open Parental Controls button.

The Parental Controls System pane appears, with tabs for several other panes: System, Content, Mail & iChat, Time Limits, and Logs. Each pane has settings that let you sculpt your child’s computer and Internet usage.

Go to each pane and set up the controls for the account.

By logging on as the administrator under your own account, you can return to the Parental Controls settings to adjust them if needed. Just open System Preferences from the Apple menu.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Joe Hutsko has been writing about computers, gadgets, and video games for over 20 years. He worked at Apple from 1984 to 1988. Barbara Boyd is a coauthor of multiple editions of iPhone All-in-One For Dummies. Boyd worked at Apple from 1985 to 1990. Jesse Feiler is a developer, web designer, trainer, and author. He has worked with mobile devices starting with Apple’s Newton and continuing with the Apple’s iOS and OS X products, including the iPhone and iPad. He is heard regularly on WAMC Public Radio’s The Roundtable. Doug Sahlin operates a professional photography business specializing in event and portrait photography. He's the best-selling author of more than 20 books on computer applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat. He's written four books on digital photography. Sahlin also writes mysteries.

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