Today's kids love to spend time in front of devices such as MacBooks or iMacs. Unfortunately, Macs aren't made specifically for kids so if you want to ensure that both your children and the device are safe, you'll need to take some extra steps. Depending on the age of your child, you might be better off buying a few accessories, installing some specialized software or at least learning how to set up some parental controls by yourself. Here's what you need to know:
As we all know, Apple products aren't exactly cheap, so it may be a good idea to protect them. In my experience, the keyboard is always in danger of getting crumbs stuck between the keys or of spillages. Additionally, kids also have the tendency to touch the display with their fingers or other objects, potentially damaging them. I recommend buying screen protectors and keyboard covers. If you need some advice, I found affordable screen protectors on a website called Kuzy, while keyboard covers made specifically for your device can easily be found on Amazon. (I use a product called All-inside keyboard cover.)
Now that you've made sure that your Mac is safe from your kids. In case you don't have the time to make too many manual settings and you have a bit of cash to spend, there are quite a few third-party parental control applications that you can install. I recommend Net Nanny as it includes multiple features such as web filtering, profanity masking, usage alerts and limits as well as the possibility to remotely manage the device. However, you do have other viable options such as Qustodio or K9 Web Protection.
If you've got the time, you can manually set parental controls for your Mac. The first thing that you need to do is to create a controlled user account for your child. Go to Apple Menu --> System Preferences --> Parental Controls --> Create a new account with parental controls. Next, enter the credentials for the administrator account (your username and password), then click Unlock and type in the name of the child and their password. Lastly, press the Create Account button and make sure that your child logs into that account when using the Mac. Once you've created the kid's account, you can use the same Parental Controls menu from the System Preferences to enforce usage limits or restrict access to specific websites.
Finally, I recommend creating an Apple ID for your child to enable the Family Sharing feature and to ensure that any purchases made from Apple won't go through without your confirmation. Open the Apple Menu, go to System Preferences --> iCloud --> Manage Family and click on the button with the plus icon. Press the Create an Apple ID for a child button, enter the kid's birthday along with other requested information (username, first name, last name, etc.) and click on Continue. Verify the payment options as well as the security settings and you're good to go. Lastly, go to the same Manage Family menu as before, click on the newly created child ID and make sure that the Ask to Buy option is enabled.
As you can see, Apple offers quite a few options to keep your kid safe on Macs. Furthermore, you can also set up parental controls on iPads, in case your child also has one of those. It may seem like a bit of a hassle, but the Internet isn't a safe place for young minds and I'm sure that preserving your children's innocence for a bit longer is worth the effort.