2 BEST ways to set up Mac parental controls

Allowing young family members to use the Internet in general and MacBooks, in particular, can make children become highly exposed to content that is not appropriate for their age. There was a case where a parent caught her first-grader watching pornography online.

To somewhat prevent such dangers, Apple has a series of parental controls on mac that allow you to restrict the type of content young children see and determine how long children can use the device.

Here are 2 BEST ways to set up Mac parental controls to keep your kids safe while using macOS.

2 BEST ways to set up Mac parental controls

Use Apple parental controls

The first step is to create an account specifically for your child so that any screen time restrictions you make for your child won’t affect your own browsing or use of apps.

There are many ways to do this, one of the most common is:

  1. Select the Apple icon
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select Users & Groups
  4. Add new account

Once your child’s account is set up, it’s time to enable parental controls. The approach is slightly different depending on the version of macOS you have, in this article CyberPurify will help you set up via macOS Big Sur.

For macOS Big Sur

You follow the steps below:

  • System Preferences
  • Select Screen time
Downtime feature

The Downtime feature allows you to set the time your MacBook is inactive. During Downtime, only certain apps you allow or phone calls will be active. This is useful if you want to restrict your kids from watching Netflix at night or just want them to not use the device at certain times.

Porn Blocker Extension

CyberPurify Porn Blocker’s AI-driven filtering solution can help parents protect their kids from harmful content, while still letting kids experience the positive benefits of the online world.





This feature applies to all devices that are using iCloud accounts used for Screen Time.

Here is the way:

  • Turn this feature on
  • Select the “Every Day” or “Custom” option and set the time that the MacBook will be locked.

Apps Limit

As the name says it all, this setting allows you to control the amount of time your child spends each day on certain apps or categories of apps. This feature applies to all devices with the same iCloud account used for Screen Time.

Here is the way:

  • Enable feature

  • Click the “+” icon at the bottom left of the main taskbar.
  • You will now be able to select specific apps or genres and apply a daily time limit.
Always Allowed

Another simple setting that allows you to give your child access to some approved apps at all times even during Downtime.

Content and Privacy Restrictions

If the previous features were more concerned with access rights and time limits, this feature Content & Privacy allows you to decide what kind of content your child will see. Various granular settings restrict adult websites and search results, lyrics and profanity in movies and music.

For Content: You can choose to limit access to adult websites or only allow your child access to certain websites that you allow.

For stores: This feature allows you to restrict inappropriate books and musical publications from reaching your child. Besides, it also helps you control the applications in the device, limiting the child to miss payments.

For macOS Catalina

Parental controls mac macOS Catalina: choose System Preferences > Screen Time, and select your child’s account from the drop-down options in the sidebar. Below this option, there are also several other options, including Downtime, App Limits, and Content & Privacy, which you can use to set up restrictions.

Click the “Options” button in the bottom left corner and located in the main taskbar you will see the “Screen Time” setting. Click “Enable…” to activate the feature. Now, “Screen Time” itself does not limit the use of the device; instead, it serves as the master name for parental control.

The 2 options in the Screen Time taskbar are “Share across devices” and “Use a screen time passcode”. The first will show you the aggregate time the account holder spends on their various Apple devices, while the second is the time that you should turn on immediately as it prevents kids from making any changes in any time limit or content lock you have set up.

For macOS Mojave and earlier operating systems

“Screen Time” isn’t available on macOS Mojave or its predecessors, but there are built-in features to keep your kids safe. To find these, choose System Preferences > Parental Controls. If you have not set up an account for your child, you will be prompted to do so by selecting Create a new user account with parental controls > select Continue.

Follow the instructions on how to set up your account

, once done, return to “Parental Controls”. You’ll now see the child’s new account in the sidebar, so click it and cycle through the various settings that limit what and how long your child can access the MacBook.

The options are similar to those listed above, with granular controls for the apps they can use, web content, daily time limits, and several other safety features.

Use the online content filtering tool

The parental control on Mac whose features are listed above will help your children use the Internet more safely. But of course, there’s no 100% guarantee, you also know that harmful content is so rampant on the Internet that your kids are at very high risk of getting access to these types of inappropriate content.

parental control on mac

With the limitations of technology, there is no single tool that can completely protect your children from harmful content on the Internet. So besides educating your kids about what is appropriate and inappropriate online content, you should consider using an online content filtering tool as an add-on/extension and it’s free. They help protect your children from up to 15 types of harmful content on the Internet such as:

  • Pornography
  • Horrifying content like gore, accidents, ghosts, violence, murder, terrorism, etc
  • Content about stimulants, addictive substances such as alcohol, beer, marijuana, drugs, etc
  • Content with aggressive elements, hurting others like Hate speech

Try and you might love this:

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Binh Nguyen
With 14 years of AI experience, I love developing AI products to solve real-life problems. I'm passionate about how CyberPurify’s AI-driven filtering solution can help parents protect their kids from harmful content, while still letting kids experience the positive benefits of the online world.

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