Tag Archives: Macintosh

Ignoring Macs for parental controls

I’ve long been frustrated by San Francisco Chronicle’s “computer guy” column by David Einstein. He regularly ignores Macs in his columns, either willfully, through ignorance, or because he believes that his audience doesn’t care about Macs.

In his most recent set of questions and answers, from May 5, 2008 included a question about setting limits on computer usage for middle schoolers. In his response, he said:

If your computer is running Windows Vista, the User Accounts and Family Safety feature in the Control Panel will let you create a user ID for your child and restrict the time of the day when he or she can sign on.

If you don’t have Vista, don’t despair, because you still have options.

How disappointing that those “options” didn’t include anything other than Windows. The latest version of Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” has great parental controls, including the ability to limit total computer time (say, 3 hours a day), with separate limits for weekends, and prevent use during specified times (“bedtimes”).

You can also limit who your child emails and chats, allowing only certain email and chat addresses, and restrict which websites can be viewed. You can even limit which applications can be used.

Beyond what’s provided by Leopard itself, other applications include their own parental controls. For example, iTunes lets you restrict movies and TV shows by rating (G, PG, etc.) and to prevent purchase of “explicit”-tagged content. You can even prevent access to iTunes Store completely.

For parents, Leopard provides a significant control over how a child uses their computer. I don’t understand how Mr. Einstein could fail to acknowledge the Mac at all in his response, and it bugs me every time he does it.