My nine-year-old daughter knows how to Google. And as someone who just today accidentally landed on a porn site after typing what he thought was the URL for a sporting-goods store, I realize it's time to take steps.
Because I can't monitor my kids' computer activity every second of the day, I'm starting by replacing Google with Quintura. This kid-friendly search engine lets you type in a query and/or click your way through a word cloud and get G-rated results in return.
Type in "ferrets," for instance, and related topics (such as "animals" and "pet care") appear in a cloud surrounding the original search term. Click any of those results to narrow the search, and on and on as desired. Meanwhile, the actual filtered-for-kids search results appear in the bottom half of the site, ready for clicking.
It's no Google, but it does make me feel better about unsupervised Web searches. Check back tomorrow for other kid-safety solutions, including entire browsers designed for young users.