How To Set Up Parental Controls for Mac OS Sierra

Macs are a series of computers — desktops and laptops — manufactured by Apple, and they run with the OS X operating system. High Sierra version 10.13 was released in 2017. 

Find out which version of macOS is installed on your device

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Click About This Mac.
  3. You'll see the macOS name, followed by its version number.


Create a New User Profile on Your Mac

  1. Log in to your administrator account.
  2. Click the System Preferences icon in your Dock.
  3. Click Users and Groups.
  4. Click the lock icon to make changes.
  5. Enter your password when prompted.
  6. Click the + button below the list of users to add a new user.
  7. In the New Account drop-down menu, choose Managed with Parental Control.
  8. Select your child’s age (either 4+, 9+, or 12+).
  9. Enter your child’s full name.
  10. Enter an Account Name.
  11. Enter a password for the user, and then enter it again to verify it.
  12. Create a password hint in case the child forgets the password.
  13. Click Create user.
  14. Click the lock again to prevent further changes.

Set Parental Restrictions on Your Mac

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select Parental Controls.
  4. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  5. Enter your administrator name and password (or use Touch ID if your Mac has a Touch Bar).
  6. Select a user, then begin to customize their restrictions:
    • Time: Set time limits for weekdays, weekends, and bedtime.
    • Privacy: Allow your child to make changes related to privacy.
    • Web: Limit access to websites, or allow unrestricted access.
    • Apps:
      • Prevent your child from using the built-in camera.
      • Restrict them from joining multiplayer games in the Game Center.
      • Limit your child’s contact with other people through Mail.
      • Specify which apps your child can access.
    • Stores:
      • Disable access to the iTunes Store and the iBooks Store.
      • Limit a child’s access to music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books to only those with age-appropriate ratings.
    • Other:
      • Prevent your child from using Siri and Dictation.
      • Adjust printer and scanner settings.
      • Limit CD-burning and DVD-burning.
      • Hide profanities in the dictionary and other sources.
      • Prevent the Dock from being modified, and instead show your child a simplified, easy-to-use view of the Mac desktop.

Manage Parental Controls From Another Mac

After you set restrictions for a child on one Mac, you can manage parental controls from a different Mac that’s on the same network. Here’s how:

On the Mac your child uses:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select Parental Controls.
  4. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  5. Enter your administrator name and password (or use Touch ID if your Mac has a Touch Bar).
  6. Select Manage parental controls from another computer.

    NOTE: If you don’t see this option, there may be a user selected on the left side of Parental Controls preferences. Command-click the selected user so there isn’t a user selected.

On the Mac you want to use to manage your child’s parental controls settings (i.e. your own personal Mac):

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select Parental Controls.
  4. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  5. Enter your administrator name and password (or use Touch ID if your Mac has a Touch Bar).
  6. Select the Mac your child uses.
  7. Enter the administrator name and password for the Mac your child uses.
  8. Select the user to be managed (your child).

That’s it! You can now change your child’s parental controls settings and monitor their activity logs.

How to Monitor Content

In addition to setting parental controls on your child's device, the next safety layer parents and caregivers should strongly consider is a monitoring solution to assess the content their kids encounter (and produce) across text messages, social media, and email. Bark can do this for you. On iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod), Bark can monitor text messages/iMessages (including some deleted messages!), photos, videos, web browsing (on Safari and Chrome), and Whatsapp! Any other email and social media accounts must be connected via the parent dashboard and will be monitored at the account-level, regardless if accessed on a phone, tablet, or a computer. Bark also monitors your child's Apple device location with check-ins. If you'd like to see a detailed list of everything Bark can monitor, click here.


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