Using Built-In Computer Parental Controls to Supervise Online Activity

Computers are now even more helpful to parents who are trying to keep their children safe while they spend time online. Macs and PCs have parental controls that are actually built into their operating systems. The newer operating systems, Mac OS X Leopard and Windows Vista, give parents even more control than any other system before.

These built-in parental controls can help a parent keep their children safe without forcing them to buy additional software to monitor their children online. This article talks about how a parent can use these built-in computer parental controls to spy on their children online.

What to do first

No matter if a person has a Mac or if they have a PC they first need to set up an account for each person (child and adult) who uses the computer. They can check with their computer’s user guide if they have questions or need help setting up an account for each user.

If you have Windows

If a parent has Windows they will be able to access the built-in parental controls through the “Control Panel” on their computer. Here they will be able to find the “User Accounts” as well as the “Family Safety Control Panel.” With Windows Vista parents will be able to choose the web restrictions they would like to set. Parents can also receive reports about what their child does on the computer. Limits can be set using these built-in parental controls that can block certain programs or games and that set hours that are off-limits to children using the computer.

If you have a Mac

If a person has a Mac, the next set of directions are a little bit different than if they have Windows. With a Mac, the parent needs to then choose “System Preferences,” which is on the Apple menu, after they set up a user account for each individual who will be using the computer. After selecting “System Preferences” the parent should click on “Accounts.” The parent will then need to click on “Parental Controls” for each of their children’s accounts. There will then be a list of categories that come up. A parent will be able to monitor and restrict these categories.

The Mac’s system Leopard will allow parents to choose who their children can talk to through email and iChat. It will let parents record instant messaging conversations and even limit the time that the child can spend online.

Using the history log

A parent can also use the history log that is automatically recorded by the majority of browsers. They can look back and see what sites were visited while their child was online. Parents should be careful to check all the browsers’ history if they have more than one browser on their computer. Also, kids can delete the browser history. Parents should make sure to watch for any browser history that has been erased.

While spying on children while they are online can sometimes seem like an invasion of privacy, it is also a way to keep children safe. The online world is a whole new place and it can be scary for parents to think of their children talking to anyone they want and doing things that parents may never know about. Using built-in computer parental controls to spy on children can help parents know what their children are doing online so they can help keep their children safe.

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Using Built-In Computer Parental Controls to Supervise Online Activity." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 11 May. 2009. Web. 2 Sep. 2015. < >.

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By . Originally published May 11, 2009. Last modified May 11, 2009.

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