Like most parents of young children, reader Eric Greene is having a problem with his toddler. He writes:
I love using iChat AV to video chat with my distant family. However, when my 16-month old is “talking” to grandma and grandpa, he pounds on all of the keys on my iBook. I’d love to find a way to temporarily disable the keyboard while in a video chat. Since this is a laptop, I can’t just unplug the keyboard’s cable.
A common technique in the Jiu-Jitsu trade is to use your opponent’s strength against him. I suggest that very thing in this case. As a typical 16-month old, your son undoubtedly has the patience of a tsetse fly and quickly bangs out a staccato series of tattoos on the keyboard before moving onto variations of the same theme. To keep his playing from having an effect, you needn’t disable the keyboard, only slow down its responsiveness.
To do so, launch the Universal Access system preference, click the Keyboard tab, enable the Slow Keys option at the bottom of the window, and drag the Acceptance Delay slider all the way to the left (where it reads
). With your Mac configured this way, one must hold down a key for a full second—which, in toddler terms, is nigh on an eternity—before it registers on your Mac’s screen.