Hi folks! I saw that other thread, and thought I'd share my experience with you guys.
Disclaimer: Everyone is different. What works great for one family may not be so great for another.
The problem: Kids surfing the web unprotected can stumble on icky stuff.
The worse problem: Kids may surf the web actively looking for icky stuff.
Given #1: Icky stuff is bad, harms spirituality, self esteem, respect, etc. Present and future happiness requires that it must be actively avoided.
Given #2: Especially for boys, hormones and curiosity lead to a desire to see icky stuff.
Given #3: The icky stuff is out there, and some of it will be seen at some point or another. There is no reasonable way to prevent this from happening.
Given #4: It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children about free agency, choosing good or evil, temptation, self control, repentance, forgiveness, etc.
For my family, I wanted a solution that teaches my children to avoid the icky stuff. It must be esteemed as having no value. Scarcity of anything can lead to the perception that it has value, so I had to be very careful. I wanted to make sure that finding the icky stuff not turn into a challenge or a game! Rather, I wanted to teach my children to avoid it themselves, so that when they are elsewhere, out of my direct control, they won't be as tempted.
There are two parts to the solution:
The first part is a rule. All the kids know the rule. It's very simple. If they are using the computer, TV, or whatever, and they see something that is wrong, they have one and only one action, which must be done immediately: turn off the screen. If it's a computer, just turn off the monitor. Then come and tell mom or dad. Don't try to exit anything, just power off the display and come get us.
The second part is full visibility and accountability. I run a server at home that has two network cards in it. One connects to the internal LAN, to which the home computers are attached, and the other connects to the internet. This cheap little box (running the free debian linux) runs a transparent proxy (squid). It addition, it hosts my websites. The squid logs, which show all internet traffic, are automatically published to the website. Anytime, anyone can look at the logs, and see what websites were visited. Grandparents, friends, the bishop... whoever.
So far, we have not had any problems with accidental exposure, that I know of. It's become harder and harder to accidentally stumble on icky stuff in the past few years. We had one problem with some searches, which, due to the visibility, was quickly discovered, and led to a long talk, which was followed with what has so far been a long stretch of very good behavior.
We are on this earth to learn to choose the right. Preventing access to icky stuff has the downside that it may become perceived as desireable. I hope that the environment that I've set up teaches self-control and accountability. The icky stuff is out there, just a search away, but my goal is to prevent the search from happening, either in my network, or wherever else my children may find themselves.
I hope this is useful. --- Eric