The Web Log of Jon Henshaw

How to enforce computer time limits on your Mac

Written by , published on and related to ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ Parenting


If you have a computer in your home that’s used by your children, then you probably struggle with how much time they spend on it. And even if you try to regulate the computer time when you’re around, some children will respond by getting up early โ€“ well before you’re awake โ€“ to use it. This can become especially troubling during the school year when children need as much sleep as they can get.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to limit the time your children can spend on the computer.

Parental Control Prerequisites

In order to control how and what your children can do on the computer, they will require their own login account. You can set this up in the System Preferences. Create a new account and select the account type Managed with Parental Controls.

Parental Controls

Passwords aren’t required, but are encouraged. This is especially true if you have more than one child. Otherwise, you may find your children using each other’s accounts for extra time.

Setting Time Limits

In the child’s account settings, access the the Parental Controls and then click on the Time Limits option.

Time Limits

The Time Limits allow you to specify how many hours on weekdays (school days) they can access the computer, and also how long they can access it on weekends (non-school days). In my example, I restrict access to one hour a day on weekdays and 2 hours a day on weekends.

The other option you can specify is when the computer is available. If you specify a start and end time, it will keep your children from being able to use the computer outside that time frame โ€“ thus solving the problem of early risers, and kids that won’t go to bed or wake up in the middle of the night to use the computer.

You will need to teach your children to logout when they’re not using the computer. Otherwise, it will use up their time. I found that this is a lesson that is quickly learned ๐Ÿ˜‰