How to use Parental Controls to block websites on a Mac to help protect children or to increase productivity


MacBook Pro

  • If you’re looking to ensure a safe experience for your children on the internet, learning how to block websites on your Mac is key.
  • Blocking certain websites for yourself can help you stay on task and avoid getting you in trouble with a boss or teacher.
  • You can configure the Parental Controls on a Mac account to filter certain types of material, or you can block specific websites on a case-by-case basis.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

I have a five-year-old son who got his first computer last year, a MacBook Pro. You better believe one of the first things my wife and I did was make sure access to all but a handful of decidedly kid-friendly websites was blocked. 

Blocking websites on a Mac is the best way to ensure children have a safe experience on the web, only seeing content that’s age-appropriate and parent-approved. And young kids aren’t the only ones who might benefit from blocking sites on Macs — you might want to block a website in order to keep yourself in check while at work or at school.

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MacBook Pro (From $1,299 at Apple)

How to block websites on a Mac

The best way to block websites on a Mac is to set up an account with parental controls that allow for customized content filtering or blocking.

1. Click the Apple logo at the top left corner of the screen and select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.

2. In the window that pops up, hit the “Parental Controls” icon (it’s a yellow circle with two stick figures inside it, in the bottom row).

3. Enter the computer’s password for access (note that you may need to hit the padlock icon in the bottom left corner of the screen).

4. Create a new account, entering a name and selecting the age of the user (go for 17+ if this is for a workplace or college).

5. Click the word “Web” from the taskbar at the top of the Parental Controls window.

6. To allow access only to specified sites, click the “Allow access to only these websites” option and enter the sites that will be permitted one by one; to block specific websites, click the “Try to limit access to adult websites” option, then hit the “Customize…” button.

Screen Shot 2019 06 28 at 3.40.22 PM

7. In the popup window, enter the names of sites that are always to be blocked, then hit “OK.”

Now just make sure your kid, students, or employees can only log into the account you just configured to limit access, or all that work was for nothing.

And remember that these settings will only apply to Apple’s own browser, Safari. If you want to block websites in Chrome, Firefox, or other browsers, you’ll need to download specific add-ons for those browsers.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • How to set your browser’s homepage on a Mac, with instructions for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox

  • ‘Why is my Mac so slow?’: 6 ways to speed up your Mac computer when its performance is lagging

  • How to set a password on your Mac computer and lock it, in 5 different ways

  • How to take a screenshot on a Mac, and find that screenshot on your computer later

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