This Support Article covers a lot of MacOS inbuilt tools and at the end of the article is a list of paid 3rd party parent control apps (these are not endorsed by the school, it is just included as options for parents to review).
You don't have to hover over your children's shoulders, watching their every move, to keep them safe. Apple has several parental control features for the Mac to help protect them as they browse the internet, use apps, and play games. You can even set time limits for your little ones' computer activities, so they don't overuse their allotted screen time. Here's how to set up and manage Parental controls on your Mac.
If you are looking for how to use parental controls on iOS, check out iMore's ultimate guide to parental controls on iPhone and iPad.
How to create a new user account on Mac
If you currently only have one user account (your administrator account), you'll need to create a new account for your kids.
Once you create an account for your child, you must set restrictions by activating Screen Time in macOS Catalina.
The user interface may vary slightly however at first glance, the interface seems identical through each macOS version.
How to turn on Screen Time on macOS
Screen Time is located in System Preferences in macOS Catalina. To get started:
You can now start using Screen Time on Mac. For further information on Screen Time for Mac, see:
The following steps are exclusive to establishing parental controls on Mac using Screen Time.
How to set restrictions across all devices
Thanks to Screen Time, you can establish restrictions for your children across all of your devices. As changes are made on one device, they'll carry over to the others. However, they must be set up to do so.
How to add a passcode to Screen Time on macOS
So your child can't change restrictions, it's best to set a passcode on the account.
How to schedule Downtime using Screen Time for macOS
During Downtime, only the apps you choose to allow will work for your child on Mac. To set up a Downtime schedule:
With Every Day selected, Downtime is enforced during the same time each day. With Custom picked, you can adjust the time for each day of the week or uncheck the box next to a day to turn Downtime off for that day.
You can also select Block at Downtime if you want the machine completely blocked to your child during Downtime.
How to set app limits using Screen Time for macOS
In Screen Time for Mac, you can also set app time limits.
To remove app limits:
How to set always allowed content in Screen Time for macOS
You might want specific processes available on the Mac at all the time for your child, regardless of other restrictions. This can include communication with certain people or apps.
To set always allowed content:
How to set content and privacy using Screen Time for macOS
Finally, you can restrict content and privacy using Screen Time.
3rd Party Parent Control Apps
If all that is a little too hard then you can try paid 3rd party applications to enforce restrictions such as;
The Bottom Line
Parental control apps can be fantastic in many ways, but it’s important to remember that they aren’t a direct replacement for actively monitoring children’s time online.
It’s also important that you educate your kids. Discuss what’s a healthy amount of screen time, and why they need to be careful when online. In combination with these apps, you can make sure your children are able to get the most from their Mac without putting themselves in harm’s way.