Parental Controls: Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Parental Controls: Mac OS X Snow Leopard

It’s no exaggeration: Kids today can usually navigate their way around a computer before they can successfully learn to walk across a room without stumbling. That’s why it’s important to think of Apple Macs, PCs and the Internet as extensions to the real world: Wonderful places and people abound online, but there are also a lot of scummy alleyways that aren’t exactly playgrounds.

No parent can keep their kid out of mischief 24 hours a day, so PCs and Macs have optional safeguards in place to limit browsing options. Parents can even set timers that will disallow access to the computer at certain hours of the day. Here’s how to setup parental controls and keep your kids’ safe online in OS X Snow Leopard.

How to Setup Parental Controls for Mac (OS X 10.5.X Snow Leopard )

Apple’s Mac parental controls allow parents to set time limits on computer usage, restrict access to certain content and apps, control incoming and outgoing emails, and can also be used to control which iChat friends may be contacted. To set up controls on OS X 10.5.x:

-Select System Preferences from the Apple menu.

-Click the Parental Controls icon in the System section.

-Click the Lock icon in the bottom-left corner. You will need to provide an Admin username and password.

-Click OK.

To Restrict App Usage:

-Select the account you’re managing from the left menu.

-Click the System tab.

-Click on Allow Only Selected Applications and pick from the list of apps as needed.

To Restrict Content:

-Click the Content tab in the Parental Controls menu.

-You have the option to block profanity in the Mac’s dictionary, if you like. Place a check in the appropriate box.

-Internet content can be unrestrained (click the Allow Unrestricted Access to Websites button) or the browser can attempt to filter out adult websites automatically. Needless to say, this isn’t foolproof.

-You can also customize access to certain websites with the Allow Access Only to these Websites option. This option also populates a list of well-known kid-friendly sites, and can be added to as necessary.

To Restrict Email and iChat Access:

-Click on the Mail & iChat tab. This option lets you manage from whom your child can send email to, and whom they can receive from.

-The Limit iChat box lets you prevent your child from contacting any iChat user who isn’t on an approved list.

To Set Time Limits:

-Click on the Time Limits tab in the Parental Controls menu.

-To limit weekday use, go to the Weekday Time Limits section and click the Limit Computer Use to box.

-Use the slider to set a time limit of between 30 minutes to 8 hours every weekday.

-To limit weekend use, repeat the same actions in the Weekend Time Limit section of the menu.

To View Parental Controls Logs:

-Click on the Logs tab in the Parental Controls menu.

-You can use the drop-down menu to view websites and applications that were accessed within the past several months, or at any time during the machine’s active history.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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