My Mac is my refuge, my window to the rest of the world. My three toddlers see me climb through that window each day, and they want to go, too. The internet can be a scary place for kids, so what good Mac mommies need is a kid safe browsing experience.
You know, the kind with parental censoring capability, and some way to prevent the carpet crawling, curtain climbing little tykes of love and terror from terrorizes the rest of my Mac.
Kid Safe Browsing
From my perspective as a parent and Mac user, I don’t mind if my kids use my Mac. I just don’t want them to do either of two things.
First, I don’t want them to browse to web sites which might scare or harm them.
Second, I don’t want my kids to wreck my Mac, which might scare me so much that I harm them (scary looks can leave scars).
It’s one thing to play games on a Mac, it’s something else to let kids explore the rest of the internet on my Mac (actually, it’s a hand-me-down Mac, handed down to the kids).
KidSafe is a browser like none you’ve used on your Mac. You define the list of sites that you’ll allow your kids to visit (click any image below for a larger, pop up, view).
KidSafe is simple, elegant, and nearly fool proof (though I sometimes think my kids are fool foolproof). Set the web site you want in the Preferences. Select full screen mode, and your kids can’t visit the Dock or anything else on your Mac.
The MyPlaces screen limits the choices, hides the Dock. The large button for each web site you’ve approved makes it easier for toddlers to click.
There are some caveats, of course. You might feel like a Nazi Parent™ by being so selective with specific web sites. I chose a few, like PBS for Kids, that have simple games.
One negative is that KidSafe does not come with a predetermined list of acceptable, safe web sites for children. You’re on your own.
KidSafe Saves Your Mac
What I particularly appreciate is that KidSafe helps me save my Mac from my children. Yes, it’s the MacBook I gave to them to use. But that makes me their system administrator.
In full screen mode KidSafe prevents your children from running amok through the rest of your Mac.
Granted, there isn’t much they can to their own user space, but still.
Also missing is some kind of bright icon to represent each website. Instead, KidSafe goes all pastel on us with large buttons that resemble nothing but large buttons. At least there’s no text that my three year old would be required to read.
Browsing is the killer app for web users. Children are going to go there, sooner or later, on your Mac under your conditions, or somewhere else. At least give them a fighting chance with safeguards like KidSafe.
Of course, you’ll want to blindfold them first.