Restricting Web Browser Access?

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davintosh's picture
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Restricting Web Browser Access?

I've got two young sons who are allowed on the computer only for homework purposes during the school week, using a separate account with pretty strict parental controls on it. They're allowed to launch AppleWorks and a few other apps that help them through their homework, but cannot launch Safari or any other web browser.

That worked well (or so I thought) until I stepped into the family room the other night & caught the eldest hammering away at a Flash game inside of Safari (his biggest weakness, and his biggest time waster), while still in the restricted account! He fessed up that he had discovered (some time ago in fact) that you can launch Safari (or whatever the default web browser is) from inside Dashboard; click on the X in the lower-left corner, click on Manage Widgets, then on the More Widgets button, and bingo! you're in.

Turns out that restricting an app within the Parental Controls prefs panel only keeps that user from launching the specified app from within the Finder; if another app calls on the web browser, it'll launch, no questions asked. Dashboard was easy enough to defeat; just use terminal to disable Dashboard and that's it. But if an app uses web-based help resources and the help menu refers the user to the web, that's a hole. And to top it off, in AppleWorks there's no way to stop a user from launching a web browser; all you need to do is go to the Starting Points, click on the Web tab, and open one of the docs there, any of which contain numerous hyperlinks. Even without the Starting Points trick you can create a hyperlink inside any AppleWorks document (or Word doc, or...)

So, if I want to keep my kid's nose to the grindstone and keep him from getting sidetracked on the stoopid games, what is the best method to lock him out of web content?

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simple. Change the dns inf

simple.

Change the dns information of the computer.

Assign it to a similar looking address and lock it with an admin account. Or disconnect the wire.

davintosh's picture
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Re: simple. Change the dns inf

Problem with that is that it affects all the users on the computer, not just the one you want restricted.

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yeah, but you could also disa

yeah, but you could also disable networking from within the system preferences, then when you log in as admin, just enable it.

dankephoto's picture
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change association?

Can you tell the system to open something other than an actual web browser when a hyperlink is clicked? Something useless webwise of course, eg: TextEdit or the like. I know helper apps can be specified for various file types and protocols . . .

I have System Prefs pane called "More Internet", with it I can specify which app handles http (Firefox) or ftp (Cyberduck) or whatever (you get the idea I'm sure.)

I imagine you can lock down those sorts of preferences, though I'm not entirely sure.

dan k

protocol6v's picture
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Change the privileges on all

Change the privileges on all the web browsers. Change them so only administrators can RWX and no one else can do anything

davintosh's picture
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True, but...

True, but I'm not the only other user on the computer. It's the main machine for the house, with my wife as the main user. She wants things to just work when she sits down; fiddling with system preferences would be more than she'd want to deal with.

cwsmith's picture
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Disable Dashboard?

There was, at one time, a program called Dashboard Killer for those borderline machines that probably shouldn't be running Tiger. It disabled Dashboard to help the machine run just a little bit smoother.

I don't know if Dashboard Killer allowed you to disable Dashboard on individual accounts, but it's worth looking into this or some similar solution.

davintosh's picture
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Re: Disable Dashboard?

cwsmith wrote:
There was, at one time, a program called Dashboard Killer for those borderline machines that probably shouldn't be running Tiger. It disabled Dashboard to help the machine run just a little bit smoother.

I don't know if Dashboard Killer allowed you to disable Dashboard on individual accounts, but it's worth looking into this or some similar solution.

I haven't used that particular doodad; I was able to get rid of Dashboard on that account by using a Terminal trick; just open Terminal & enter,

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

After hitting enter, you also need to restart the Dock, either by logging out & back in or typing killall Dock in terminal. Once the Dock restarts, Dashboard won't be there, and the system won't start it when the machine restarts. And if you want Dashboard back, just type in the code used to kill it, except with a NO at the end, then restart the Dock.

I think I found that on osxhints.com, but I'm sure it can be found in lots of places.

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