Parents, don't worry. It's actually pretty easy.
First of all, I deal with combating many of the things parents worry about every day. As an IT manager, part of my duties include making sure that my employees aren't running rampant on the web. For you at home this can be done free and easy.
The link below is the Cnet/Download.com link for K9 Web Protection. This is a small footprint program that will not allow anyone to go where you don't want them to. As a hack of 16 years, trust me, I've tested it. There is only one "backdoor", being the use of a proxy, which is easily disabled through the custom interface given by K9. BTW, no, you can't just uninstall the program either.
While k9 can protect your children (or your spouse) from accessing unwanted sites, it cannot, sadly, protect your children from online predators. To be honest, there isn't anything in the world that can protect you or your kids from the bad things in life (digitally, or physically) better than knowledge. Talk to your kids, make sure they understand how to be responsible on the net.
That being said, I would also recommend two other pieces of software.
1) a keylogger. Check Cnet for a list of available, free, keyloggers. There is some misinterpretation of whether this is "spying." That's up to your to decide. Personally, my staff know that their keys are logged, and reviewed. That way they don't say things they shouldn't
2)McAfee SiteAdvisor - Yeah, this is a work in progress, but if you use Internet Explorer, you'll find this a nice addition. This program actually checks the sites your search engine brings up and "grades" them based on what the community has to say. While I'm generally not a fan of McAfee, this is a good, free product. When they port it to Opera (hint, hint) I'll pick it back up for my own use.
As I saw stated in another reply to this post, your own awareness of what your children are doing cannot be replaced by any of these. These programs just make it a bit easier to keep an eye on them. Make sure your take an active role in your childrens digital development.
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