iMac Parental Controls

As parents, we want our kids to have an enjoyable experience on the computer. At the same time, we must do whatever it takes to ensure their safety as well. Apple makes this a bit easier with iMac parental controls for their Leopard operating system. These controls can be set up with ease and allow you to manage and monitor what your kids are doing on the computer from the sites they visit to the people they chat with.

The Tiger OS had iMac parental controls in the Accounts Preference Pane. Leopard has integrated these functions in a single pane titled "Parental Controls." This option enables you to configure controls at any time for any user account. The limitations can be removed or changed if you ever want to grant access to anyone in particular.

To set or change iMac parental controls, click the Parental Controls icon in the "System Preferences" menu. This will display a list of accounts you are able to apply limitations to. It's important to know that you can't apply limitations to "Sharing Only" and "Group" accounts or "Administrative" accounts. Sharing Only and Group accounts can only access iMac files over a network, meaning there is really no need to apply limitations to them.

To set parental controls for any other account, you must first be authenticated by clicking on the lock icon. Enter your administrative password and choose from the list of accounts. Next, click the "Enable Parental Controls" button in the main section of the display. Once these controls are enabled, you will notice all the options that are available.

Simplified account: This allows you to prevent children from accessing the functions of a privileged account.

Limit application access: This allows you to prevent access to a number of programs on your iMac. These applications include iTunes, iMovie and iPhoto along with internet applications like Mail, iChat and iMovie. You can block any of these programs by clicking away its check in the box beside it.

Content Controls

Content Controls give you more options to set iMac parental controls for web surfing. It helps to set limitations on content accessible from Dictionary and web browsers such as Safari and others.

Dictionary controls: To prevent children from reading the definitions of questionable words, check the box labeled "Hide Profanity in Dictionary." The restricted user will be able to see a list of these words but will not be able view the definitions.

Website Restrictions: These iMac parental controls can place limitations on any internet content. Here you can allow unrestricted access and restrict access to particular websites or certain applications. You also have the ability to automatically block adult websites and even bookmark kid-friendly sites to an unrestricted list.

You can never be too safe these days. While Macintosh systems are generally safer than Windows, the presence of internet access offers equal risk on both platforms. The good thing is that iMac parental controls are easy to configure and more importantly, effective. Be sure to warn your children about internet dangers and why you have taken these measures to protect them.


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