Leopard Lockdown: Parental Controls

Being the master of your own domain can also include your Mac, and Leopardis Parental Control feature gives you lots of ways to make sure you arenit overthrown for a new leader. Parental Controls also give you a great tool for locking down Leopardis Guest user account so you can limit potential funny business when your friends sit down at your Mac.

To enable Parental Controls for a user account on your Mac, do this:

  • Select Apple menu > System Preferences to launch System Preferences.
  • Click Accounts.
  • Select the account you want to limit. I chose my Guest account.
  • Start setting limits.

Use Parental Controls to limit access to applications and more.

I limited the applications guest users can access. I allow guest users to access the iLife i08 and iWork i08 applications, Safari, Mail, iChat, and Preview. I made sure that guest users donit have access to Terminal, Console, Disk Utility, or any other system utility.

Prohibiting access to Terminal means guest users canit try to hack your Mac from the Unix command line, and they wonit be able to try to add anything you donit want -- like chron jobs that harvest data form your Mac, or alter DNS numbers to trick you into visiting phishing sites.

I donit want guest users getting themselves -- or me -- in trouble online, so I let Parental Control do what it can to prevent access to, um, naughty Web sites. Select Try to limit access to adult websites automatically from the Content tab.

I chose not to impose any limits on Mail and iChat, and I didnit set any time limits, either. If you want to restrict how long guest uses can stay logged in, or what time of day they can log in, thatis hiding under the Time Limits tab.

Parental Controls can really help you keep your Mac locked down and help protect your users from doing or seeing things they shouldnit. Limits can be applied only to standard and guest user accounts, so if you want to manage your childis account, make sure they arenit an administrator.

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