We are successfully using Parental controls to limit our childrens time by the computer.

However I can't seem to be able to make the system log off the user when the time limit runs out. Since there are four people using the same computer it ends up being unusable as the kids run games, chat software, music software etcetera and after half a day the memory is stuffed with unused processes and the CPU is running HOT.

I have verified that the Fast user switching feature of the OS is turned off. Still the user that is locked out due to Parental controls time limits is not automatically logged out.

I also tried to change the security setting "Log out user after XX minutes of inactivity". I set it to 10 minutes and it works fine for the user that is currently using the computer but all locked out users are still logged in (however "inactive" they might be).

This is driving me nuts. I end up having to interfere with the children several times a day restarting or logging in or out different users. Please help!

Ah, some info: MacMini Late 2012, OS X 10.8.2

  • Is the user set up as an admin account?
    – jaume
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 10:01
  • No the children's accounts are not admins of course, but my account is. The accounts on the computer are only one admin (mine) and then the kids accounts and all of them are set up through Parental Controls.
    – jtheman
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 14:00
  • 2
    I'm having the same problem. Is there a way to execute an applescript automatically when the kids run out of time?
    – user54865
    Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


Looks like you are doing everything right. Auto logout will only work for the user that is currently logged in.

The easiest way is to reboot the system. Either automatically at night or if you need to get the system under control quickly.

I found this discussion on the apple support boards (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1402679?start=0&tstart=0) that advocates using Activity Monitor to kill the process.

Or go hardcore and write a script that will occasionally kill all processes of the kids users:

killall -u username
  • 1
    Thanks. But My question is not really how to logout a user manually, but how to make parental controls work. Many times I'm not even home, and my kids are on the computer which literally stops responding. Parentals control is a great feature for us parents who dont like our kids to spend all day in front of the computer. But as one kid login after the other is thrown out it dont work unless the kid actually logs out, but he cant even logout after time run out. I want i to work unattended!
    – jtheman
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 1:36
  • 1
    I understand the problem, but that's not the way limiting on the mac works. It won't log someone out when they run out of time. That's why I pointed at killing the proceses if you need it to run cooler.
    – David Levy
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 21:20
  • 1
    Well if I need to be around watching and logging the kids in and out killing processes remove the whole point of having automated time limits there? An automated process without automation is simply stupid! I could use an egg timer just as well!
    – jtheman
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 9:58
  • Now that was funny, an egg timer :)
    – Ruskes
    Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 19:28
  • strangely on my 10.10 system, even sudo killall -9 -u username results in 6 processes still running, and then after a few seconds 3 more, and a minute later a total of 51 processes are running under the child's login!
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 0:59

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