Q: I’m getting concerned about the amount of time my child is spending on their Mac. Is there anything I can do to limit their computer time?
A: I’m assuming you’re looking for a technological solution, and you’ll be pleased to learn that MacOS Catalina (the latest version of the operating system which was released late last year and is a free download from the Mac App Store), offers such a feature.
We’ve had this ability on iOS, but now, you can monitor and control your family’s computer use across all your Apple devices. In order to do this, you need to set up Family Sharing. This is achieved via your iCloud account.
With your family all set up, you’ll then be able to control the screen use of your children (under 18), but not of the adults that share your account with (so much for limiting your partner’s computer use!)
This is all done via the new ‘Screen Time’ menu in System Preferences.
From there, you can limit your own screen time, or that of your children via a little drop-down menu. Once you’ve selected the right person, choose ‘App Usage’ from the sidebar, and you’ll see how much they’ve been on their device, and which apps they’ve used the most.
If you want to curtail some usage, click on the Limits column and enter a value. You can also do this in the
‘App Limits’ menu in that window’s sidebar. There are also other features, like restricting websites, movies, songs, apps, even forbidding the person from changing their account password.
Even if you choose not to restrict your child’s computer use, at least this feature allows you to monitor how they are using their devices and could help you notice the early onset of screen addiction should it arise.
Steve Paris is an internationally published writer, an Apple Certified Trainer, and provides consultancy, training and troubleshooting services to the Swansea area. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him on 077-8866-0407.