Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Drewbean

Parental Controls in Leopard

Recommended Posts

I've asked the following question to many Apple "Geniuses", and have been met with much head scratching, and some speculation -- but no real response.

 

My question: How can I wholly and completely disable the webcam for certain users (aka children)? Webcams are a very real concern for parents, and one would have thought that Apple would offer a way to turn off this built in piece of hardware.

 

Instead, I'm told that as Administrator, I can disable certain user accounts from the ability to access the applications that use the webcam. But somehow this doesn't seem to be a complete & safe solution. I'd be much more comfortable knowing that the device itself is disabled. Any way to do this?

 

There probably is a "shell command", but I'm a new user, and have no idea how to do this. Also, I'd like the webcam to work for the adult users, just not the kids. So a shell command sounds global and may impact all user accounts.

 

Can anyone kindly help a parent in need? :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The iSight is just another device on the USB bus, so you might want to look for something that requires an admin password to use a usb device? But depending on what mac you're talking about, this might be undesirable (might disable the keyboard / mouse for example).

 

The option I used with my own niece and nephews was to just supervise their computer use. They loved the iSight (photobooth especially) and we used the photos of them to make their mum a mother's day card in Pages. They had a great time.

 

So I'd think again before taking the locking things down route. You might want to have a closer look at educating your children instead of limiting what they can do. I would actually have my genitalia removed if I let my niece and nephews us the computer (ages 3-10) without supervision.

 

[edit] As soon as I wrote that, this popped up in my RSS reader via TUAW http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/23346...ler-applescript

 

I've not used it, so I can't vouch for it. I was going to have a look through the code to make sure that it won't wipe your HD or anything, but I don't have time.

 

[edit 2] It looks ok, but as you guessed you'll need to do system wide changes. Which means your admin users will have to enable the iSight driver and then disable it when they're done. I still wouldn't fancy using it in preference to teaching kids safe computing though. This IS changing permissions of core files. Not something I'd fancy doing willy nilly.

Edited by Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The iSight is just another device on the USB bus, so you might want to look for something that requires an admin password to use a usb device? But depending on what mac you're talking about, this might be undesirable (might disable the keyboard / mouse for example).

 

The option I used with my own niece and nephews was to just supervise their computer use. They loved the iSight (photobooth especially) and we used the photos of them to make their mum a mother's day card in Pages. They had a great time.

 

So I'd think again before taking the locking things down route. You might want to have a closer look at educating your children instead of limiting what they can do. I would actually have my genitalia removed if I let my niece and nephews us the computer (ages 3-10) without supervision.

 

[edit] As soon as I wrote that, this popped up in my RSS reader via TUAW http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/23346...ler-applescript

 

I've not used it, so I can't vouch for it. I was going to have a look through the code to make sure that it won't wipe your HD or anything, but I don't have time.

 

[edit 2] It looks ok, but as you guessed you'll need to do system wide changes. Which means your admin users will have to enable the iSight driver and then disable it when they're done. I still wouldn't fancy using it in preference to teaching kids safe computing though. This IS changing permissions of core files. Not something I'd fancy doing willy nilly.

 

Many thanks for the thoughtful reply, Graham. I keep my computer in the main living area -- though sometimes I'm not directly watching what the kids are doing. I too would like to trust the kids, and generally I do, but I wanted to remove the iSight, which I perceive as a significant & tempting threat.

 

People often say that you need to trust your children, but removing an attractive nuisance just makes good sense. Again, thank you for your help. I might indeed make use of that disabler application; we'll see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I have done for my Son account is disable all the Apps that use the iSight like Photo Booth and iChat. IMO its not a matter of trust as we all want to trust out kids but its the trillion other users on the internet that can pose a problem.

 

Its great you keep the computer in the main living area of your home and Graham as hit the nail on the head with this, I will never understand parents that have computer in there kids bedrooms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am always surprised by the number of kids (I mean 10 and younger) that have access to laptops, with wifi in the home. I like what you said about trust -- makes good sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

disabling ichat and other apps on the computer wont really stop someone that wants to use the webcam. a lot can be done right through a web browser. as for disabling the isight, i'm not sure how to do it in software, but a permanent solution and one that jumps out at me is simply to unplug it. this might be pretty difficult for most people to do, but thats what i would do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to disable the webcam, get a bold sharpie from walmart or target and fill in the glass with black ink. If the kids try to use it, it will look broken. If you ever want to use it, a paper towel and some alcohol will restore it back to normal.

 

I would suggest a drill bit/nail, but you will want to use the camera.

 

If you regularly use the isight and dont want to keep marking the wecam, it would be smart to buy another webcam (such as a logitech) and use it when you need it.

Edited by applgeek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

×