[hackerspaces] Kids and Hackerspaces

Matt Joyce mdjoyce at gmail.com
Mon May 11 22:08:51 CEST 2009

Here's the list of concerns we at NYCR voiced during one of our longest
internal meetings ever.

We had a HUGE debate that lasted probably close to two hours ( or at least
it felt that way ) ultimately we decided to shelve the issue for six months
and seek some real legal advice on the issue.  In the interim no kids
allowed.  One 13 year old kid Jonas actually emailed the contact list
several times to discuss his desire to be allowed in the space and how he
thought it was unfair he was being banned through no fault of his own.  Hard
to argue with him.

1.  There's a difference between a members kids... and a non members kids.

2.  What happens in the horrific likelihood a kid gets injured?

3.  Our space is in no way child proofed.  In fact it's pretty unsafe even
for adults if you don't know to not touch stuff you don't understand.

4.  Re-engineering the space to be child safe in and of itself is a huge
effort for us at this point.

5.  What we've come to realize in public events is that we can't trust
parents to mind their kids.  Sometimes the parents are there to geek out and
their kids are just running around putting themselves in jeopardy.

6.  Even with disclaimers and signed away rights to sue us... if a child is
injured, we WILL get sued.  And, we WILL lose.  Because that's what
functionally happens when a kid is injured.

7.  We don't currently have events that are geared towards kids.

Some of the possible solutions that have been proposed...

1.  Make use of alternative venues such as the public library.  Host
children geared events through them.

2.  Make use of umbrella organizations... like sponsoring a first team.  If
a kid is injured... first will get sued and has the money and size to handle
that sort of thing.

3.  Talk to a lawyer.

Love to hear what else you guys have to say.

 - Matt

On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 3:58 PM, Dave Null <noid23 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 12:47 PM, Aldert Hazenberg <aldert at rotz.org>
> wrote:
> >
> > On May 11, 2009, at 9:45 PM, 3ric Johanson wrote:
> >
> >> A topic which I would love to raise at some point in the near future
> >> - -
> >> 'children in hackerspaces'.
> >
> > Do not eat them.
> >
> > Aldert.
> >
> > --
> >
> > Aldert J.B.P. Hazenberg
> > Email   : aldert at rotz.org
> > Phone   : voip/skype on request
> > IM      : several on request
> >
> > The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
> > discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..."
> >
> >     -- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
> >
> > The fundamental problems in IT security are no longer about technology.
> >
> >     -- Bruce Schneier
> >
> Yes, don't eat them. They have small bones and that makes them hard to
> clean.
> In the case of our space, one of our members, and several of our
> friends have kids. The basic things parents need to explain to their
> kids before coming over is something they should already be doing,
> teach their kids not to touch things without permission and that
> there's..um..certain words that grown ups can use that kids can't.
> We keep the hand tools locked up for security reasons already and that
> goes a long way from enabling little Jimmy from getting his hands on a
> sawzall. He also knows not to climb on things or unplug anything, no
> matter how brightly colored the cable is.
> When there are kids around we do our best to keep things PG rated as well.
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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