Parental Control Programs for Windows and Mac OS

Children are the most important people in your life, but the Internet is a terrible place that requires constant vigilance. That’s why there is a tool on any computer either Mac OS or Windows based which is called – parental control. In other words, parental control is both – special application and rules for using the Internet established in the family.

Parental Control

In some cases, installing special applications that will monitor what a child does on the Internet is not necessary at all as there are means pre-installed with the operating system that are basically the same.

Parental Control in Windows OS

For child protection, Microsoft suggests using a standard account that will be managed using the Microsoft Family Safety feature. This is a very simple approach – you can easily create accounts for your children, and then it is very simple to protect and control their activity.

How to set up such an account:

  1. To add a child account, go to Settings> Accounts> Family and other people and click the “Add Family Member” button.
  2. On the next screen, select the “Add Child Account” option. This is a great idea when every family member has their own account.
  3. Then you need to fill in all the necessary information. If your child does not have an email address, then you can create an account.
  4. To improve the security of the child’s account, you must specify a phone number. In this case, if you are unable to access your account, have forgotten passwords, or hackers attempt to break into your account, a message with an access code will be sent to your phone.

Now everything is ready – you can log in to the created account, as well as perform the configuration using the tools of Microsoft Family Safety. If you have already created an account for the child and simply want to add it to the current Windows system, you must confirm the account before setting up parental control rules.

Until you do this, the child’s account will not be active. He will be able to use the computer, then the established protection rules will not apply, so be sure to confirm your account using a valid email address. 

Parental Control Features

  • Recent action

After you add your child’s account, you can manage your family’s security settings on the Family Safety website. The recent activity collection function (Recent Activity) will monitor the child’s activity and send reports to the parent. This feature can be disabled.

  • Web browsing

The first section that you will be interested in is called Browsing the Web. You can block inappropriate websites or allow access to sites only from the white list.

  • Allow or deny sites

On this screen, you can allow and block sites. If you selected the option “Access to sites from the white list”, then you need to add resources to the “Always allow” list.

  • Applications and games

Next category Applications and games – restricting the use of applications depending on the age group (from 3 to 20 years). Please note that when the child’s age changes, the acceptable rating will also change. You can also allow and block individual games and applications, as in the case with websites.

  • Computer Timer

Finally, the category “Timer”. You can choose the time to use the computer: set the daily limit or specify the allowable time to start and stop using the PC. In the first case, even if the child can use the computer throughout the day, the total number of hours spent in front of it will be limited.

Microsoft has greatly simplified the procedure for applying control parameters to children’s accounts. Having these capabilities provides peace of mind for parents, and children can safely use the computer without undue control from adults.

Parental Control on MacOS

MacOS has all the features to monitor children while they are using the computer. By using a feature such as Parental Control, you can accurately regulate the time spent on a Mac, and also, if necessary, adjust access to certain applications or web pages.

Parental Control on macOS is simple and easy to use as well as set up, it does not require any special knowledge from you and can be called quite intuitive all in all. You can apply such restrictions from an account with administrator rights to any other account with normal permissions. If children often use your Mac, it’s time to create a separate account for them. When an account is created, you can configure parental controls.

  1. Open Settings and go to the Users and Groups section;
  2. Remove the restriction on changing parameters by clicking on the lock in the lower left corner (you will need to enter an OS X administrator password); 
  3. Select the account for which we will include restrictions and set the Enable parental control flag.

Please note that the account type will change from “Standard” to “Managed”.

Parental Control Setup

Now you need to configure parental control restrictions.

  1. Go to the Parental Control settings section and remove the restriction on changing parameters;
  2. In the left pane, select the user for whom we just turned on Parental Control;
  3. Configure access in each of the tabs.

What Can Be Limited

The settings window is divided into six tabs: Programs, Web, Store, Time, Privacy, and Others.

  • In the Programs section, you can prohibit the use of the camera on a computer, restrict rights in the Game Center and prohibit access to certain contacts in the mail. The most useful will be the ability to restrict the launch of certain applications. To do this, check the last flag and indicate in the list only the programs allowed to the user.
  • In the Web section, you can either enter several unwanted sites, access to which will be blocked, or allow access to only specified network resources.
  • On the Store tab, a ban on access to iTunes or age limits for content is set. Please note that downloaded movies or music that are not stored in iTunes will not be restricted.
  • The Time section allows you to set a time limit that can be spent at the computer on workdays and on weekends. The system will be able to prohibit the child to use the computer at night.
  • The Privacy section provides access to contacts, calendars, reminders, and social services.
  • On the Other tab, you can limit some system functions.

Directly in the “Logs” menu, you can view a list of actions that were performed during use – which programs were opened and which web resources were visited. After setting all the parameters, it remains to reboot and log in with a new account controlled by the parent. As you can see it’s quite simple to monitor your child’s activity and make sure none of the unwanted resources are visited.

More info

Other Means

Even though it’s quite easy to set up Parental Control with the means provided by the system itself, some might find this number of tools not enough for them, this is why various kinds of applications such as keyloggers exist. These are basically monitoring apps like the ones pre-installed but they have a wider span of tools and functions. Some of the apps have a possibility to stream live video from the screen, so you would be able to see what exactly is your child doing at the moment. 

The list of functions is quite long, however, the most useful are, video streaming as mentioned before, taking screenshots of the screen, sending the information to your email real-time, gathering login information that your child uses and even recording the messages that are typed on the PC or Mac while it’s being used by your child.

Such applications, however, aren’t provided free of charge and are quite pricey depending on their functionality. Typically they require a monthly subscription with a price of about $49.99 – $99.99 per month. Applications like that are almost untraceable and can’t be detected unless the person using a computer has a good knowledge of the operating system and the computer itself. Example Refog Parental Control


We all know that children need to be protected from the dangerous information as they are sensitive to it and it might influence them in a bad way. As you can see know, the companies producing the operating systems are aware of that too, that is why such thing as Parental Control exists in the first place. If you are worried about what your child might see or do on the internet, don’t hesitate to set up the Parental Control and you can rest assured that none of the unwanted information will reach your child while it’s on. 

However, it’s necessary to remember that without your direct participation in a child’s life as a parent all of the means like Parental Control or any other kind of limitations would be ineffective. Being a responsible parent always comes first and none of the applications, programs or Parental Control tools can change that.

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