Ten years ago, we had no one like you defending sites like Google or blissfully unaware of the slowly engulfing monopoly. You also need to a research on how many email or chat providers were there at that time but probably it is pointless. I will wait for the next gen with better sense of what is and what is not to come up by following the natural laws.
No I do not mean just better looking but better functioning too. Geocities changed hands but there were similar other services in plenty. What I mean is now internet is a monopoly of 2 or 3 giants and all sites follow those slavishly (see the omnipresent FB and Twitter icons).
Geocities or similar sites did not actually need html knowledge and even if they did there were as many sites as there are cookie-cutter blogs today. People who could not code were still there at that time and much independently rather than having to "expose" their data to large business merchants like Google.
"IRC and chat rooms instead of Twitter." - Wrong. It was not ONE IRC and chat room. There were innumerable and plenty of chat providers as compared to one or three major players now.
You said "it seems like your problem" - actually it is not my problem BUT the problem of the current gen that they/you do not understand how the monopoly is killing the variation and FREEDOM that net actually was. I only hope that the current trend dies by following laws of nature and the net that was returns.
Thats the MOST valid point. The parent can be a great techno-geek or a FBI head and still find no trace of file-sharing in the computer. In fact this is easy with ONLINE softwares (no need for hard disc storage) and the INCOGNITO mode so lavishly brought by Chrome and then FF. Files can be even shared during chat or Google wave and thereafter be removed without trace.
In this tech background can the legal heads of any country just summarize - what are the exact steps that a parent can do ? Problem is neither the judges or the law makers were exposed to the intricacies of the net when they were child and at "old age" half-learning is dangerous and produce half baked laws. If the thing is illegal crack down on the source - that is file sharing sites or methods.