[Pdx-pm] MAC questions

Michael G Schwern schwern at gmail.com
Tue Sep 12 19:09:39 PDT 2006

Kris Bosland wrote:
> 	Since there seems like lots of MAC users on the list...


> I am looking at getting MAC mini's for my kids.  I expect they will be
> less virus-prone than windows computers and I like that the mini is small,
> quiet, portable, and stylish (I haven't decided if I will put them in the
> kids room or the livingroom/library).

Yes, there are pretty much no viruses.  Not even through the browser.  You have to be talented to get a virus onto a Mac.

> Does anyone have any reccomendations for educational software, or other
> dos/don'ts for kids on a MAC?  I presume I can give them accounts and keep
> root for myself.

Yes, you can give them accounts and limit their access.  It even has built in parental controls for certain common apps.

> Has anyone tried out Firefox or Camino?

Firefox works fine, its my primary browser.  Its a little unmacish but only a little these days.  And a new Mac user is unlikely to notice.  Safari (Apple's browser) is also good.  Camino isn't worth the trouble.

My girlfriend Kelli gave her kid a Mini for her 6th birthday.  I asked her about it.  She sez:

* Internet protection?
  Stage one:  Why does a kid need Internet access?  Pull the plug.
  Stage two:  Setup a whitelist and introduce sites one at a time.
  Stage three:  When you think you can trust your kid, open up the connection.  
  Be there with your kid.  "Once you trust them go ahead and let them surf for porn"

* Software:
  Spongebob Squarepants: Typing
  Marble Blast (comes with the machine I think)
  Jumpstart educational software
  (Reader Rabbit wasn't a hit)

* Its a CD/DVD player so she can watch movies and listen to music in her room.  If you don't
  trust your kid to leave the computer off after bedtime this might be a problem.

* Don't put anything on the machine that you're afraid to lose because something will happen
  and you'll have to wipe the drive.  Kids find ways to break things.

* Screensavers make good nightlights.

* Potential for video game addiction.  Be smart, be a good parent.  Know what your kids are doing with their time.  (I know I stayed up late playing video games when I was a kid and had a Commodore 64 in my room --Schwern)

* Whether you put it in their room or in a family room is how much you trust your kid and how you want to monitor their use.  Kelli had a computer for her kid in the common room until she was six, then it moved into the kid's room.  To start you might want to keep it out in the common room to better encourage good computer habits.

* Clean most of the applications off of the dock (quick launch bar) and put the kid's software.

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