Bit of an old link, but worth a read (especially the comments):
Ties in nicely with reading “You are not a gadget”.
Ultimately, the internet is a tool. The sole responsibility with using a tool lies with the person in charge of it. Of course, children are generally less experienced to make judgment calls than adults, so the responsibility gets proxied to the parents. And I think that’s where it should end.
You can use a flint axe-head for a lot of things. Digging. Cutting up a potato. Skinning an animal. Or killing someone. There is clearly more and less acceptability in these examples depending on your viewpoint. Skinning an animal might be fine for some people but not for others. Some people might find it fine to skin certain animals but not others. And parent’s should be there to teach children the rights and wrongs of life until they can decide for themselves (and even then, you can’t guarantee they will continue to have the same views you had).
The keys are education and making it easy (and free?) to obtain per-household filtering solutions. Example: NetGear make a line of wireless routers that talk to their own filtering servers, or you could set SmoothWall to perform filtering.
Freedom is very hard to obtain. And the tricky thing is, we won’t suddenly be plunged into a 1984-style world. We’d get there slowly (like grass growing), and wouldn’t even know when we got there because we wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. No-one would remember being able to access any website you wanted, and you might not be able to read 1984. If you think this somewhat overly negative, just think of the degree to which we put up with CCTV today. Or how gleefully we’ve adopted smartphones and (near)-pervasive internet access because of the “benefits” we get (FaceBook?)- without thinking for one second about the fact that actually these mean we’re being tracked pretty much all the time (yup; although of course it might not be you carrying it, your phone is tracked from cell-to-cell and from access point to access point.
Big Brother is watching you? Well, maybe not you just yet, but it is watching all those lovely devices you use (and of course, Google is watching your house :)). Do you really want to risk reducing your liberty while watching surveillance being increase?