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It feels like the Internet is becoming a more and more dangerous place to explore. We know to stay away from certain websites, not to give out personal identifying details and not to click or open certain files. This is where parental controls can be an incredibly useful tool. Parental controls let you manage your children's use of a computer, the applications on it, and the Internet. It helps you to shield your child from undesirable content or activities, and it helps them explore the online world worry free. Parental controls is more than just a whitelist of allowed websites and timed access, it is a full suite of tools that should cover every aspect of your child's computer usage.
Before writing this article, I asked friends, family and peeps on social media what they thought are the most important features parental controls should have, and the following features were mentioned the most by far:. As you can see, a lot is expected of parental controls! And that's just what was mentioned the most; the list goes on. Parents trust parental controls to be a reliable tool to help out, and when their child's safety is concerned, they seek only the best solution. Apple's macOS comes with built-in Parental Controls, but is it your best option? The Mac security experts at Intego also offer parental controls, so what's the difference between macOS parental controls and Intego ContentBarrier?
Now that I have an actual use for parental controls, I was very excited to compare these two products and write the article you're reading now, and I had a lot of fun doing it! One of the most important aspects of parental controls is setting it up. As with most software and even the macOS itself, it needs to be configured properly to provide the best user experience. This includes the administrator account if you want to have some content filtering as well.
If you're not sure which protection level is the best starting point, click the "Details" button provided by each field and ContentBarrier will tell you. The next step is configuring the notifications. Set up an email address that will send you a detailed report every day, week or month, and simply click a checkbox to make sure you receive creditor alerts immediately.
That concludes the setup assistant, and you will be taken into the configuration window. Walk through all the tabs and make the final adjustments.
Key Features of Aobo Filter for Mac Professional
The content filtering feature is meant to monitor web browsing, email and chat for offensive, dangerous or otherwise preset contents. Apple's approach to content filtering is very straightforward. For web, you can select "unrestricted access," or "try to limit access to adult websites," or "only allow access to these websites" where you can enter your own list. You can enter some of your own sites to be always allowed exceptions or always blocked blacklist regardless of contents. That's it! Overall it does a pretty good job at keeping adult content out.
Intego's approach to content filtering is different and much broader than what Apple offers. Two of the three options are the same; unrestricted access and a whitelist of accessible websites, but the option that matters most is "Block selected categories of websites. If you want to block adult content, both Apple and Intego will get the job done; however, if you want to block gambling, profanity, web mail, social networks or anything else, only Intego ContentBarrier can do that for you.
The following options will be available. The Allowed Apps list is organized in the following categories:. App Store : You can prevent or allow access to apps you purchase from the App Store. Selecting or deselecting an individual app from this list overrides the global setting in the App Store drop-down menu. Other Apps: These are the apps generally found in your Mac's Applications folder. However, Parental Controls will also look in other folders on your Mac for apps.
Widgets : These are apps meant to run on the Dashboard. They are generally small, single-function apps, such as calculators, translators, and dictionaries. Utilities: These are the apps that Apple and a few other third-party app developers include in the Utilities folder, which is located inside the Applications folder. Most of these utilities are used to configure various services on the Mac.
Developer : This item isn't present in most Mac installations, but if you have downloaded the Apple Developer tools, you can block access to them from this category. Placing a check mark next to any of the apps in a list allows access to it. If you haven't already done so, open the Parental Controls preference pane instructions on page 2.
If the lock icon in the bottom-left corner of the dialog box is locked, click it and enter your administrator login information. If the lock is already open, you can proceed. Select a Managed account.
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- Set up the Mac's Parental Controls.
Select the Web tab. You will see three basic choices for setting up website restrictions:. Allow unrestricted access to the web. This turns web content filtering off and provides the same access to the web as a standard user account. Try to limit access to adult websites automatically. This option turns on website filtering and attempts to prevent access to adult-oriented content. You can manually add sites you would like to restrict access to, as well as sites you want to grant access to, by using the Customize button, which is located just below this option.
Allow access to only these websites. With this option selected, web access is limited to a white list of acceptable websites. Apple pre-populates the white list with a small sampling of sites. Allow joining Game Center multiplayer games. Placing a check mark in this option will allow the user to participate in multiplayer games that support Game Center. Leaving this option unchecked will restrict Game Center to single-player games. Allow adding Game Center friends.
Ticking this option lets the user add other Game Center players to a list of friends. This is a handy way for the user to invite other friends to participate in a game, as well as allow anyone in the friend list to send a game request. Limit Mail. Place a check mark here to prevent the managed user from sending or receiving mail from anyone who is not in the Allowed Contacts list. Place a check mark here to keep the managed user from exchanging messages with anyone who isn't on the Allowed Contacts list. Limit iChat Lion. To limit iChat interaction to a list of allowed contacts, place a check mark here.
In the drop-down sheet that appears, enter the first and last name of the individual.
Set up the Mac's Parental Controls (OS X Lion through OS X Yosemite)
Enter the individual's email or AIM account info. Use the drop-down menu to select the account type you are entering Email or AIM. Click Add. The permission request is sent to your email address. When you receive a request, you can return to the Parental Controls preference pane and add the user to the list. If you wish to receive permission requests, place a check mark in this option and then enter your email address.
If you haven't already done so, launch System Preferences click System Preferences in the Dock, or select it from the Apple menu , and select the Parental Controls preference pane.
Add a new user account and turn on parental controls for it
Click the Time Limits tab. Weekday time limits. Place a check mark in the " Limit computer use to " box, and then adjust the slider to select the amount of time that the Mac can be used per day. Weekend time limits. Select the " Limit computer use to " box, and then drag the slider to select the amount of time that the Mac can be used on a weekend day. School nights.
To prevent the Mac from being used on school nights Sunday - Thursday , place a check mark here, and then set the start and end times for the restriction, such as PM to AM. This time period covers Friday and Saturday and lets you specify different times than you set for school nights. Place a check mark here if you wish to control weekend access, and then set the start and end times. In the Parental Controls preference pane, select the Other tab. Prevents a managed user from being able to access and control any built-in cameras, including those within connected Apple displays. Some third-party webcams that use Apple's camera drivers may also be disabled.
If you're using a third-party webcam, be sure and test camera access after selecting this option. Disable use of Dictation. The Mac supports the use of dictation in various apps. You can prevent an individual from using the dictation feature by placing a check mark here. Hide profanity in Dictionary.
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The Dictionary app is chock-full of interesting words, some of which you may wish to prevent younger users from seeing. You can turn the profanity filter on to prevent access to most inappropriate words by placing a check mark here. Limit printer administration. Placing a checkmark here prevents the user from being able to add, delete, or change any of the printer settings used by this Mac. It does not prevent someone from using a printer. Net Nanny is one of the cheapest internet filter programs we tested, but still includes the most important protection tools to block dangerous content online.
There are 18 filter categories to help you quickly restrict access to websites about pornography, drugs and alcohol, suicide and gore. The program sends an email alert if your child enables a proxy or privacy server to hide their internet searches. It also prevents children from typing these words into search fields and chat messages. Net Nanny sends a notice through the parent reports when profanity was typed or blocked from being seen. Net Nanny includes time controls to block kids from the internet when they should be asleep, at school, doing homework or chores. Because you can set up an account for each child, older children can be given longer time limits for school projects, online games or streaming videos.
The biggest drawback of Net Nanny is that some important tools, such as social media monitoring, chat message capturing and text notifications for parents, require you to purchase a separate program that works alongside the Net Nanny internet filter program. Surfie is compatible with both Android and iOS cellphones and tablets, plus it has a Windows computer version.
It comes with 18 filter categories that make it easy to block related websites under each category, including pornography, violence and online gaming. On top of web filters, Surfie lets you control when your child has internet access and how long they can be online, even on cellphones. One of the best features of Surfie is its keyword monitor that alerts you if someone sends your child a test, email or instant message with words or phrases that tend to be red flags. It also works in reverse to monitor what your child sends, prohibiting them from using your tagged keyword and from sharing personal information online.
All email, instant messages and text transcripts are recorded for you to read. For Mac computers we highly recommend ContentBarrier by Intego. This internet filtering software is specifically designed for Mac computers and includes preset filter categories that make it easier to block harmful content. ContentBarrier X9 also has time controls so you can ensure your kids are focused on homework, chores or bedtime instead of playing online.
You can create separate accounts for each of your children with one program and set different filters for each depending on their age and maturity.
How to Get Past Most Internet Filters on Mac OS X: 5 Steps
We spent hours researching and testing the best internet filter programs with the help of our children to learn how they work on both traditional computers and mobile devices to block websites. We tested each internet filter by downloading it to both out test lab computers and to our home computers used by our children. We tested the filter categories by purposely attempting to go to sites we knew fell under these categories, including pornography, news outlets, drugs and alcohol, and sites on suicide. For some of the filter categories, such as social media and online gaming sites, we waited for our children to try and access them during their allotted computer times to see if it blocked the website.
It became clear that a website blocker was effective when we heard the frustrating grumbles of kids as they tried to access blocked social media or gaming sites or when their allotted screen time was up and they were blocked internet access. You can bypass the blocks on a specific website by entering the parent password. This lets kids access a site while still blocking others under the filter category.